by Michael Lowrey
Offering a flight a day from Charlotte to Cincinnati’ Lunken Airport on Dornier 328 jets four days a week for a $595 round trip fare, all taxes included.
OK, so what’s this all about? Honestly hadn’t heard of Ultimate Air Shuttle before, but the Ohio-based company’s plan seems simple enough: fill a niche market for business travelers out of Ohio, particularly Cincinnati. Why Cincinnati? Because, according the U.S. Department of Transportation, Cincinnati (CVG) has the second highest airfares in the country, behind only Vail, Colorado. Flights out of Cincy in 4Q2011 came at average of a 39.2 percent fare premium. By comparison, Charlotte rank 18th with a 10.4 percent fare premium. And bad as things are in CVG now, they use to be much worse. For 4Q2006, for example, the average fare premium was 71 percent.
A more concrete example per DOT data from 4Q2011:
The average one-way fare flying Charlotte-Cincinnati: $287.61
The average one-way fare flying Charlotte-Columbus, OH: $225.97
The average one-way fare flying Charlotte-Indianapolis: $204.00
The average one-way fare flying Charlotte-Louisville: $213.63
Bonus Observation: In case you’re wondering what a Dornier 328 jet looks like, well this is one. Back in the day, a Delta regional affiliate flew Dornier 328 from CLT on feeder flights to Delta’s hub in… Cincinnati!