AirTran bolsters service from Orlando

Washington DC
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AirTran Airways will bolster service from Orlando International airport, adding flights to Knoxville, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina and Atlantic City, New Jersey in June.

Thrice-weekly service to Asheville Regional airport will begin on 11 June.

Asheville Regional offered AirTran incentives to operate service to Orlando, an airport spokeswoman says, declining to elaborate.

The facility has the ability to provide fee waivers and or marketing assistance, she says.

The other city-pairs will start on 12 June.

With Knoxville and Asheville, AirTran will offer 61 destinations nationwide, including 33 nonstops from Orlando.

While no carrier links Orlando with Asheville, AirTran will face competition in Knoxville and Atlantic City.

Low-cost operator Allegiant Air flies Boeing MD-80 aircraft between Orlando and Knoxville, according to Innovata.

Fellow low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines already operates Airbus A319s between Orlando and Atlantic City, where it has been the only commercial carrier for roughly a year.

Having a new entrant in Atlantic City will help the New Jersey facility recapture leakage to Philadelphia International airport, roughly 58 miles (93km) away, says a spokeswoman for Atlantic City operator South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA). The spokeswoman says she is unconcerned about overcapacity on the route because passengers traditionally bypass Atlantic City for Philadelphia because of limited flight times. AirTran will assist with that, the spokeswoman says.

AirTran will not operate Orlando-Atlantic City with risk assurance, as it will do when it inaugurates Atlanta-Atlantic City flights on 11 June. Nor does the airline qualify for a landing fee waiver because Spirit already offers the market.

The new routes come as AirTran prepares to end flights between Orlando and Washington National airport in Virginia. Instead, AirTran will allocate Washington slots for Milwaukee, Wisconsin service from 11 June.