News & Gallery
For Immediate Release:
Direct Air to Take Seasonal Leave From Hagerstown
President and Managing Partner Direct AirEd Warneck843-916-9700
Director of Public Relations Washington CountySarah Lankford240-313-2215
(Hagerstown, MD — August 9th, 2011) Washington County officials just learned this afternoon that Direct Air has initiated contacts to advanced ticket holders that flights from Hagerstown to Myrtle Beach, SC and Lakeland, FL will be discontinued beginning August 21, 2011.
Although current load factors experienced on the 14 flights completed to date have demonstrated a very strong desire and demand for the service; Direct Air informed HGR during a conference call late this afternoon, that their decision to identify Hagerstown as a seasonal market is founded on several contributing factors. These include, fuel costs; the number of advanced tickets sales as we approach the fall and winter months; the summer vacation season nearing an end, aircraft availability and the underlying tone of the economy which is indicating a slowing of leisure travel spending nationwide. Given all these indicators, Direct Air remains committed to the Hagerstown market and will work to return service in the spring of 2012.
Ed Warneck, President and Managing Partner for Direct Air stated that Hagerstown was a new start-up destination with not enough history to ensure confidence in fall and winter demand. As a result, the airline has concluded that during this first year of operation, the market should be viewed as seasonal. Citing second year growth in start-up markets typically experiences growth in demand approaching 20% leads him to consider returning service in the spring. Direct Air flights between now and August 21, 2011 will operate as scheduled. Mr. Warneck regretted any inconvenience to passengers that have purchased a ticket past August 21, 2011. He advised, any passenger who purchased a family ties voucher or ticket for future flights will be contacted by Direct Air and will receive a full refund. If a ticket holder is not contacted by Direct Air they should contact the Direct Air Reservations Center at 1-877-432-3473.
Direct Air and Washington County officials intend to continue discussions and initiate planning efforts to return service to Myrtle Beach, SC and Lakeland, FL around November 1st. Airport Director, Phil Ridenour commented, “I truly wish to express my personal appreciation to those in the community who took advantage of the service and to assure them that commercial service to leisure destinations continues to be high on our priority list.”
Washington County has learned a lot about commercial travel trends out of Hagerstown during this past season and this will better position us to plan for and implement travel opportunities in the future. This low cost investment, using hotel-motel tax funding, by Washington County provided great opportunities for residents in the region.
For more information please contact Mr. Ed Warneck, President and Managing Partner for Direct Air at 843-916-9700 and Sarah Lankford, Director of Public Relations for Washington County at 240-313-2215.