Allegiant Leaves Green Bay for Appleton

Last Updated Jul 10, 2008 10:54 AM EDT

Something tells me that the title of this post doesn't exactly make for the most compelling story. I mean, who cares if Allegiant flies to Green Bay or Appleton? Most people probably wouldn't know where these places are even located (Wisconsin) were it not for the Packers. But there's actually a very interesting story to be found in this move.

On August 21, Allegiant will stop flying to Green Bay's airport and move 33 miles down the road to Appleton instead. Why? Well, it all comes down to costs. An article in the Green Bay paper details what happened. Allegiant's spokesperson said:

We've been flying out of Green Bay for a number of years, very successfully; however, we were a little surprised when the cost structure of flying out of there changed, and it was no longer cost-effective. We were faced with leaving the market. We approached Appleton, and they worked really hard with us to develop a cost structure that would support our low-cost fares.
Seems simple enough, but something in this article didn't really add up. Green Bay's Airport Director Tom Miller said "the airport had given Allegiant, which started serving Austin Straubel [Green Bay Airport] three years ago, some introductory breaks while it got established, but the time had come to charge full price."

That doesn't sound right to me. I know from reliable sources that Allegiant won't start flying to a city based on introductory rates or revenue guarantees. If it doesn't make sense for them on an ongoing basis, they're not going to come in. So, either there was a miscommunication between the airline and the airport about the fee structure or something changed since the airline first arrived.

Either way, the locals probably won't care much. If the airports are only 33 miles apart, people will be willing to drive. And apparently, parking is cheaper at Appleton so the overall cost of driving and parking will probably go down anyway. Seems like a smart move, since it will cost the airline less to fly to Appleton. There is one thing that's bugging me.

Can anyone explain to me how both these airports have so much service? I mean, why do Delta and Northwest fly to Cincinnati, Minneapolis, and Detroit from both of these airports? How can Midwest support flights from Milwaukee to both of these? Very strange.

Disclosure: I own a very small number of shares in Allegiant.