The presence of low-fare airlines has large and rippling economic benefits exceeding $125 million per year with business and consumer savings greater than $80 million in ticket costs per year. An overall reduction in airfares results in savings for both businesses and consumers alike. A large portion of these savings is spent locally, benefiting the Richmond economy.
Businesses and business travelers, in particular, reap the financial benefits of the reduced ticket costs as a result of low-fare airlines since business travelers are often purchasing last minute or walk-up fares.
Low-fare airlines also change the booking rules in a community:
• travelers are not penalized for one-way travel (remember when a one-way ticket was MORE expensive than a round-trip ticket? This is still the case at airports that are not served by low-fare carriers)
• travelers are not subject to a minimum stay requirement or Saturday night overstays
• travelers have the flexibility to book different segments of their trip on more one than one airline without penalty.
Plus, the presence of low-fare airlines increases passenger traffic by regaining those travelers who previously would drive to other airports for cheaper fares. Business travel time is significantly reduced for those who previously had traveled to other airports for lower fares, resulting in significant gains in workforce productivity.
Lower fares also induce more people to travel to the Richmond region for both leisure and business—especially conventions that are lucrative for the community, increasing spending and injecting millions of dollars into the area retail and services. Having low-fare carriers in place to get convention attendees in and out of a metro area is one of the top reasons convention planners choose to hold a convention in a particular location.
They know that their attendees are budget-conscious and are looking for the most cost-effective way to attend their industry’s conventions. Of course, when they arrive for a convention, they spend money on hotels, restaurants, taxis, rentals cars and other purchases while here. Having the low-cost carriers in place is the first step in getting them to town so that they can spend in other ways while they are here.
And once they are here, they have the opportunity to experience all that the Richmond area has to offer. Which can have a very positive impact on those businesses that are looking to relocate their headquarters.
Having the low-cost carriers serve our market is a driving force that contributes to tremendous, long-term economic impact for our region.