OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — United Airlines tells WKRG News 5 they will end routes to and from Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) in March of 2022.
The company sent the following statement:
Due to changes in the long-term sustainability of this particular route, United will end service to Destin-Fort Walton Beach in March 2022. We are working with customers impacted by the change to help them make alternate plans.
It’s important to note that many different factors determine a successful route and our decisions include careful evaluation of our overall network, fleet, resources at our regional partners and yields. With that in mind, we have determined that this particular route is not sustainable for the long-term.
United is a longstanding airline at VPS that offers nonstop flights to Houston, Chicago and Denver.
In recent months, travel records show United having the least amount of business at VPS out of the five airlines in operation.
The latest report in November of 2021 shows United hosted 3% of all flights in and out of VPS. Without the December numbers, United had 120,000 passengers in 2021, compared to newly contracted Southwest Airlines with 238,000.
Southwest began service to VPS in May of 2021. Previously, United held 12% of the flights. That dropped to 7% after Southwest began operating.
Tracey Stage, A.A.E. Airports Director at VPS had the following answers to WKRG News 5 questions:
- When did VPS get word of United Airlines planning to end service? Prior to Christmas Day.
- What is the impact of United leaving for the airport? None.
- Will the lack of flights from United affect tourists planning 2022 vacations to the area? Not at all.
- Are there any talks to replace with another airline soon or expand another service? We shall see.
- Will this impact the current construction at the airport? No.
- How many flights did United operate to and from VPS annually? What was their economic impact? 3 flights a day on average. Lowest market share at VPS.
United Airlines would not say if they plan to reopen service to VPS, but sent this to WKRG News 5:
As we do with all markets, we’ll continue to evaluate the feasibility of returning based on the operational and financial environment.