Major changes are happening at local airports: What’s really going on?

Published: Monday, October 30, 2017 @ 6:57 AM

Here's how to find cheap flights.

The Dayton International Airport is at an arduous point in its history — a major air carrier left this year, ticket prices are higher than most Ohio airports and passenger traffic has steadily declined.

At the same time, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport has seen its lowest average airfare in more than 20 years, increasing passenger traffic and businesses like Amazon flocking to the hub.

» RELATED: Uber, Lyft operating at Dayton International Airport

So, what’s really going on? Nationally, the declining trend has hit small- and medium-sized airports and forced several dozen to lose air service as they struggle to compete as major airlines pull up stakes and land at larger airports.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. AIRFARE DROPS Airfare data released recently show average ticket prices nationally have declined overall, but prices at the Dayton airport have climbed and are the highest compared to Ohio airports in Columbus, Cleveland, Akron and Cincinnati. Meanwhile, average airfare at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport dropped to the lowest in the region. After decades of being considered one of the most expensive airports in the U.S., the airfares at CVG have dropped 16 out of the 17 quarters.

» Dayton Airport director’s plan to lure passengers: Bigger planes, more flights

Dayton’s average airfare increased from last quarter to $400, while Columbus dropped to $369 and Cincinnati dropped to $369. Airports in Kentucky, like Louisville International-Standiford Field, were still more expensive than Dayton.

2. WHAT CAUSED DAYTON’S ISSUES? For the Dayton airport, passenger traffic declined more than 14 percent to 74,538 last month compared to August 2016 when 86,922 passengers traveled through the airport. The decrease was not a surprise to airport officials, who said it is a reflection of Southwest Airlines’ departure from the airport. Southwest’s decision is part of string of events to negatively impact Dayton’s airport.

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Troubles started back as far as 2008 when several mergers changed the air industry over a matter of years. Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines merged in 2008, American Airlines and U.S. Airways merged in 2013 and decided to keep American’s brand. Other mergers included United with Continental Airlines in 2010.

3. NATIONAL TREND Dayton is among 21 airports that Southwest has exited since the AirTran merger was announced, according to Volaire Aviation Consulting. And more than 50 small to medium-sized hubs have lost air service completely in the last five years. Slaybaugh said it is a disturbing trend to see small and medium-sized airports lose passenger traffic and capacity as air carriers leave for larger markets, but Dayton is not in danger of losing its airport services.

4. WHAT’S NEXT? The airport will also get a fresh look with millions of dollars in renovations — taking up to 22 months to complete. The airport’s terminal modernization project will occur in phases, and the first part will include new restrooms, HVAC upgrades, the relocation of the USO offices, lighting upgrades and other work.

» RELATED: How to find cheap flights

5. DISCOUNT FLIGHTS Local aviation expert Jay Ratliff said the low-cost carriers are traveling to different areas of the country — and now the globe — from Cincinnati, so the sudden increase in new options likely won’t lead to a saturation in the market any time soon. The competing airlines drive down prices, benefiting travelers in Southwest Ohio.

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Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs, adding 200 jobs in Ohio

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 8:41 AM

Whirlpool KitchenAid mixers in all colors wait for assembly at the factory in Greenville in this 2012 photo. FILE
Whirlpool KitchenAid mixers in all colors wait for assembly at the factory in Greenville in this 2012 photo. FILE

At least one local manufacturer is celebrating the Trump administration’s move to slam down new tariffs on imported goods.

Whirlpool Corp. said it is adding 200 jobs after the administration imposed a tariff of up to 50 percent on large residential washing machines, a penalty aimed squarely at rival manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc.

The new full-time employees will work at a factory in Clyde, Ohio, Whirlpool said Monday. The company also said the administration’s action will also result in new jobs in Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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Whirlpool has about 10,000 workers at five manufacturing plants, including about 1,000 at its Greenville facilities in Darke County.

Last year, Whirlpool cut the ribbon on a $17 million doubling in size of its Ohio Factory Distribution Center in Greenville, a site that supports shipments of KitchenAid small appliances.

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“This is a victory for American workers and consumers alike,” Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool chief executive, said in a statement Monday. “By enforcing our existing trade laws, President Trump has ensured American workers will compete on a level playing field with their foreign counterparts, enabled new manufacturing jobs here in America and will usher in a new era of innovation for consumers everywhere.”

The administration also announced tariffs on imported solar cells and modules.

Jim Bustillo, owner of Miamisburg’s Star City Solar, which sells and installs solar cells and components, said the tariffs will likely make some of the products he sells more expensive. But’s he’s OK with that.

“We need to protect American jobs,” Bustillo said Tuesday.

The products he sells are a mix of American-made and imported products. But he said he assures customers that solar equipment pays for itself in time.

“Solar panels are not an expense,” Bustillo said. “They’re an investment.”

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“The president’s action makes clear again that the Trump administration will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses in this regard,” Robert Lighthizer, U.S. trade representative, said in a statement.

It’s back. Graeter’s partners with brewery again for ice cream beer

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 6:48 AM

The Cincinnati ice cream maker Grater's started in 1868 and is now run by the fourth generation.

Graeter’s Ice Cream and Kentucky-based Braxton Brewing Co. have partnered up again to bring back the highly popular Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Milk Stout beer.

The Cincinnati-based ice cream company will re-launch its Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip flavor beer with Braxton with a few changes to the original recipe. The new batch will have more pure black raspberry puree in the beer. Also, for the first time, the brew will be available in Columbus and Nashville.

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The unique milk stout will once again be available starting in early February at Cincinnati, Dayton, Lexington, Louisville, Nashville and Columbus-area Kroger markets for a limited time. It will be introduced at a Tapping Party on Feb. 3at Braxton Brewing Co.’s Covington, Kentucky Taproom.

Based on feedback from customers last year, the brewery has infused even more of Graeter’s proprietary pure Black Raspberry purée.

“We hand-crafted a new recipe to ensure that we released a beer we know craft food and beer lovers will appreciate, and the new Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Milk Stout recipe does just that,” said Jake Rouse, Braxton’s co-founder and CEO.

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JOB ALERT: Kroger hiring for management, digital tech jobs

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 8:30 AM

Kroger Looking to Eliminate Checkout Lanes

The Kroger Co. announced it is actively recruiting experienced retail, digital and technology professionals for corporate and store management roles across stores.

“We want retail and digital and tech talent to know that we’re hiring,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s group vice president of human resources and labor relations.

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The company is also investing an incremental $500 million in human capital over the next three years. This will be in addition to Kroger’s continued efforts to rebalance store associate pay and benefits while also focusing on certifications, performance incentives, advancement opportunities and training for employees.

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“With so many recent changes in the retail landscape, we recognize there are talented individuals in our communities who may be searching for a new career with a new company,” Massa said.

Interested candidates are encouraged to apply at jobs.kroger.com.

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Regional airport adds new Starbucks, other new dining options

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 7:57 AM

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John Glenn Columbus International Airport is adding another Starbucks location and several other new dining options for travelers.

The airport added its fifth Starbucks location near baggage claim, operated by global restaurateur HMSHost. Other new dining options will open in Concourse C in the second quarter of 2018, the airport announced. Donatos, with a full-service menu and bar, will replace Johnny Rockets. PGA Tour Grill, with a full-service menu and bar, will replace Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe.

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While the restaurants are under construction, a food and beverage kiosk will be available for customers along with American Craft Tavern, a Samuel-Adams themed bar and restaurant that opened in July. More than 7.5 million passengers traveled through the airport last year.

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