Airport begins service to Charlotte and Orlando
Shenandoah Valley travelers now can fly directly to Charlotte, N.C., and then on to Orlando, Fla.
Shenandoah Valley Airport near Weyers Cave might be the smallest of Virginia’s nine commercial airports in terms of traffic — about 20,000 passengers a year — but the new arrangement with Maitland, Fla.-based ViaAir connects travelers with more than 700 flights.
“This is the first time the Shenandoah Valley has had a partner airline offering daily commercial flights with a jet aircraft,” says Greg Campbell, the airport’s executive director. ViaAir will use a 50-seat Embraer ERJ 145 regional jet in flying to Charlotte and Orlando.
The new airline service has been well received, Campbell says. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and interest,” he adds. “Orlando is one of the top markets for our area. It was previously served by a seasonal airline and did well.”
The airport added ViaAir service to Charlotte on Nov. 30 and to Orlando/Sanford, Fla., on Dec. 11. Travelers flying to Orlando will have a stop in Charlotte before continuing on the same plane to Orlando. The flights replace the airport’s former air carrier, Silver Airways, which offered daily turbo-prop service to Washington Dulles International Airport. “That airline suffered from some operational issues,” Campbell says. “Reliability is important in a small market, and we were having some issues there.”
Introductory fares to Charlotte start at $44 each way. Orlando fares start at $99 each way. Fares include one piece of checked luggage of up to 30 pounds.
“Charlotte is a six-month promotional fare, and Orlando is a 90-day promotional fare,” Campbell says. “We think fares will remain close to that after the introductory period. We think they will remain competitive.”
ViaAir, which boasts a 98 percent on-time performance record, will operate 12 weekly departures/arrivals to Charlotte. The Charlotte hub has approximately 710 daily departures serving 155 nonstop destinations.
The Shenandoah Valley Airport averages about 70 to 80 takeoffs and landings a day on its 6,000-foot runway. “Five to six of those a day are commercial airlines. The rest are general aviation, primarily corporate,” Campbell says.