So far, Peoria International Airport (PIA) has had a good year. In fact, if trends continue, it will crack 600,000 passengers for the first time in its history. Increasing passenger volume maintains PIA’s longtime dominance in Central Illinois.
So it is that time of year for another analysis of local airline service. Last year’s analysis is probably gone with the old blog, but I’ll provide an update, by airline, for the past year.
Although service to Bloomington-Normal, Moline and Springfield has cannibalized Peoria traffic from its 2007-2008 peak, the carrier retains a strong presence with a dozen weekly departures to four destinations.
The carrier apparently introduced 177-seat Airbus A-320s to Peoria on a turnaround flight from Phoenix-Mesa on February 17. The type is scheduled here for regular use flying to and from St. Petersburg/Clearwater on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Airbus A-319s, equipped with 156 seats, have been used here off and on since early spring 2013. Most Peoria flights continued to be flown with the venerable MD-80, which has 165 seats.
AMERICAN CONNECTION (Chautauqua Airlines)
AMR Corporation announced September 12, 2012 that it was discontinuing the American Connection branding. All regional flying for American Airlines would use the “American Eagle” branding. Earlier this year, Envoy Airlines dba American Eagle began replacing Chautauqua Airlines dba American Connection flights out of Chicago-O’Hare. Chautauqua remains the only carrier flying under this branding, which is scheduled to end on August 29. Service to Peoria, already reduced to a single daily roundtrip, ends August 14.
AMERICAN EAGLE (Envoy Airlines)
Envoy Airlines, formerly American Eagle Airlines Inc., will be the sole American Airlines regional feeder at Peoria on August 14 after the last Chautauqua Airlines dba American Connection jet departs for Chicago-O’Hare. Currently, Envoy links Peoria with American Airlines hubs at Chicago-O’Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth, offering three weekday roundtrips (fewer on weekends) to each.
Replacement of American Connection flights by Envoy also means more capacity. When all four Chicago-O’Hare roundtrips are operated by the latter from August 14, daily seating will have increased from 176 to 200 in each direction.
After American Eagle announced last year that it would add a second daily Dallas/Ft. Worth nonstop out of Bloomington-Normal’s Central Illinois Regional Airport (CIRA) starting October 1, 2013, schedules showed Peoria would lose one of its three daily roundtrips at the same time. Those cuts never occurred, so loads must be holding up.
DELTA CONNECTION (Endeavor Air)
Known as Pinnacle Airlines prior to August 1, 2013, this Minneapolis-based carrier links Peoria with not only former Northwest Airlines hubs at Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul but also has a a daily roundtrip to Atlanta. All local flights use 50-seat Canadair Regional Jets.
DELTA CONNECTION (ExpressJet Airlines)
Since their official merger on December 31, 2011, Atlantic Southeast Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines have been regarded as the world’s largest regional. The Skywest Airlines subsidiary is based in College Park, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb. It links Peoria with Delta Air Lines’ Atlanta and Detroit hubs, the latter fairly recently. All flights are operated with 50-seat Canadair Regional Jets.
UNITED EXPRESS (ExpressJet Airlines)
Although it is a major regional partner of Delta Air Lines, ExpressJet also provides feed for United Airlines hubs. The carrier operates the first “turnaround” from Chicago-O’Hare to Peoria and a single daily Denver roundtrip with 50-seat Embraer 145s.
UNITED EXPRESS (SkyWest Airlines)
The third arrival of the day from Chicago-O’Hare is operated by one of this carrier’s 50-seat Canadair Regional Jets.
UNITED EXPRESS (Trans States Airlines)
The other two Peoria – Chicago-O’Hare roundtrips are operated by this carrier’s 50-seat Embraer 145s.
Peoria Int’l Airport is blessed with good airline service to six major airline hubs (Atlanta, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul) and four leisure destinations (Las Vegas, Phoenix-Mesa, Punta Gorda and St. Petersburg/Clearwater) on four independent carriers with between 19 and 22 daily departures.
Schedules shown below are effective July 12, 2014. See route map below (click to enlarge).
– David P. Jordan