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Published: Saturday, 9/13/2003

TransMeridian suspends midweek flights to Florida

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Just weeks after introducing its Toledo-Orlando air service, TransMeridian Airlines is suspending midweek trips for several months because of soft demand.

“The volume just wasn't there” for the Wednesday and Thursday flights, said Adrian Drury, the airline's administrative sales manager.

Beginning next week and continuing through Nov. 19, the Toledo-Orlando flights will operate only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.

Wednesday and Thursday service will operate during the Thanksgiving holiday period but be canceled again during the first two weeks of December, he said.

Service on TransMeridian's routes to Orlando from Syracuse, N.Y., and Rockford, Ill., also is being reduced temporarily to four days a week, from six.

The carrier's twice-per-week roundtrips between Toledo and Las Vegas aren't affected.

Passengers with tickets for the cancelled flights are being offered refunds or accommodation on other dates, Mr. Drury said.

Autumn is typically a soft time of year for air travel, and especially for vacations. While it handles some convention business, Orlando is primarily a leisure destination, Mr. Drury noted.

TransMeridian faced a choice of substantial financial losses on the undersold midweek flights or inconveniencing the few people who had bought tickets for them, the spokesman said.

TransMeridian began serving Toledo on Aug. 28. Its Florida flights go to Sanford International Airport, north of Orlando, instead of better-known Orlando International, and continue on to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Brian Schwartz, spokesman for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, said the agency is disappointed but is relying on TransMeridian's assurance that the midweek service will be restored during the busy season. “We're confident that they will [do that], and we look forward to that,” Mr. Schwartz said.



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