AirTran examines seasonal flights after cutting year-round flights at Daytona

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AirTran Airways will discontinue formerly year-round Daytona Beach, Florida-Atlanta service beginning in June, but plans are underway to resume the service at some point on a seasonal basis.

“Daytona Beach service is just over a year old for us, so [we’re] still working at determining the best strategy for seasonal flying there, but as of right now the service will go on hiatus starting June 12 this year and the date has not been set at this point for resumption next season,” an airline spokeswoman says in an e-mail.

But Daytona Beach International Airport business director Stephen Cooke says the airline plans to resume the service in January.

“We are in discussions with them now about possibly keeping an aircraft here year round. Those discussions have not been concluded,” he says, adding that he is looking into creative ways to retain the service.

Last year the airport took over AirTran’s ground handling when it expressed interest in nixing the Atlanta flight, Cooke says.

AirTran remains in Daytona Beach with daily flights to New York LaGuardia airport; however, Cooke anticipates that service will be seasonally cut in May. He notes Delta Air Lines, which also flies between Daytona and LaGuardia, moved its flight to the same time slot as AirTran, making it difficult to fill up seats.

“Our market is very seasonal,” Cooke explains.

AirTran’s competition on the Atlanta route included service from Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) and Delta mainline flights, schedules in Innovata show.