Effective Dec. 31, Washington Dulles International Airport will cease to be a focus city and destination within the Metro Air route network, and MetroAir will expand operations in Portland, Ore., giving it the title of the airline’s newest focus city.
An airline focus city is a city which offers several non-stop flights to destinations other than hubs but is not large enough to be called a hub.
“The operations team have been weighing up our options for our former hub but with our current high frequency operation taking place in Baltimore it was becoming increasingly difficult to sustain the operation in Dulles,” William Hogarth, MetroAir’s Chief Operating Officer said. “In order to better utilize the aircraft and keep the frequency high enough to make a profit we made the difficult decision to withdraw completely from the capital.”
While MetroAir is closing one focus city, the airline will expand operations in Portland to create a new focus city.
Portland is already served by the airline to several destinations, but beginning Jan. 1, it will dramatically expand its operations across the country.
“Portland is the ideal place to expand operations because of its high number of available gates and high load factors. It will enable us to expand operations across the west coast as well as into Canada,” Hogarth said.
Initially the airline will offer 10 new destinations across the west coast and Midwest alongside its current flight schedule and further expansion from Portland was already being looked into.
“While Washington-Dulles has earned its spot in MetroAir’s history; the time has come where the costs outweigh the benefits. The decision to move to BWI has been one of the best things we have done for the airline and our passengers,” MertoAir Chief Executive Officer Matt Calsada said. “We expect that Portland becoming a new focus city for the airline will be another positive decision, expanding our network and increase connections for our passengers.”
The destinations are: added frequency to Ontario, Calif.; Calgary, Alberta; and Vancouver, B.C.; and new routes to Chicago; Las Vegas; Phoenix; Edmonton, Alberta; Denver; San Francisco; Dallas-Fort Worth; Salt Lake City; Houston and Sacramento, Calif.
Seven aircraft will be based at the airport in its new terminal on the D concourse, and all flights will be served on Airbus A319s and Embraer E170s.
Washington-Dulles International Airport would go down in history for MetroAir and its contributions to the airline’s growth would not be forgotten. It had once been the backbone for the airline’s mainline operations since operations began in 2008 until the end of 2011 when the airline moved regional operations to Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.