Piedmont Triad International Airport will try its luck with another low-fare carrier serving two familiar Southeast destinations.
The airport said Tuesday that Silver Airways, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will begin on June 30 a daily nonstop flight to Nashville, Tenn., and Orlando, Fla.
According to Silver’s website, it also will offer a one-stop flight to Pensacola, Fla., via Orlando.
It will be PTI’s first nonstop flight to Nashville on a low-fare carrier.
Allegiant Air announced in January 2021 plans for a nonstop flight from PTI to Nashville.
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However, before it could be launched in June 2021, the schedule fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic’s initial drastic impact on passenger travel.
Silver has a three-tier fare and services schedule.
The lowest-tier Escape service is bare bones. The mid-tier Freedom service offers free ticket change, free seat arrangement and last-minute reschedule. The high-tier Refundable adds refundable tickets, but removes last-minute reschedules.
Silver’s Nashville flight schedule departs PTI at 10:20 a.m. Eastern time and arriving at Nashville International Airport at 11:10 a.m. Central time. The flight to PTI departs at 11:55 a.m. Central time and arrives at 2:45 p.m. Eastern time.
According to Silver’s website, its Nashville Escape routes are as low as $48.98 one-way, its Freedom routes are as low as $96.18 and its Refundable routes as low as $348.98.
The Orlando flight schedule departs PTI at 3:25 p.m. and arriving at Orlando International Airport at 5:50 p.m. The flight to PTI departs at 7:15 a.m. and arrives at 9:40 a.m.
According to Silver’s website, its Orlando Escape routes are as low as $48.98 one-way, its Freedom routes are as low as $101.18 and its Refundable routes as low as $348.98.
“We are pleased to welcome Silver as a new airline at PTI and to have direct service to Nashville and Orlando, which are both very important markets for us,” Kevin Baker, PTI’s executive director, said in a statement.
Paulo Mesnik, Silver’s vice president for its commercial unit, said that “by connecting the Piedmont Triad to Orlando and Nashville, we aim to facilitate seamless travel experiences, whether it be for business or leisure.”
“We look forward to serving the vibrant communities of the Piedmont Triad and showcasing the Silver Airways experience.”
Silver flies on ATR-600 series turboprop aircraft.
Its main airports are in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa, Fla.
Silver’s Caribbean network connects Puerto Rico with the U.S. Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Dominica, Santiago, Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands.
Silver has a codeshare partnership with United, JetBlue, American, Delta, Avianca and Copa Airlines, and has interline agreements with Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Azul, Bahamasair, Emirates, and APG.
Silver’s pending arrival at PTI appears well-timed for both the airline and airport, said Roger Beahm, a marketing professor at Wake Forest University’s School of Business.
“There should now be good market potential for an affordable, no-frills airline offering service to these markets from PTI,” Beahm said.
“Airline travelers are keenly aware that ticket prices have been going up even faster than the rate of inflation this year. While that may suggest improved profitability for the airline industry, it’s creating sticker-shock for many travelers.
“Much like any other brand, higher prices are causing consumers to rethink their brand loyalties.”
Beahm said that “while not everyone will be willing to fly a relatively unknown airline, the timing for introducing these routes at PTI certainly seems well thought-out.”
“While Silver Airways lacks the brand recognition and imagery of a major carrier, consumers seem more willing than ever in today’s environment to try brands that are more affordable and which meet their basic needs.
“As both Orlando and Nashville are tourist destinations, travelers to these locations will be interested in saving more money on their airline flights this summer so they have extra to spend on other things — whether it be on vacation or back at home,” Beahm said.
Beahm said Silver’s challenges will be to “clearly and effectively communicate its benefits in order to achieve a passenger load that justifies the new routes and schedules.”
“Silver Airways is going to have to advertise in this region, communicate its features and benefits, and create a positive brand image, in order to build brand equity sufficient for the long term.
“For a no-frills airline with a smaller marketing budget, that’s not an easy task.”
PTI has had two low-fare carriers ended or suspend their service in recent years.
Frontier Airlines ended its nonstop flights to Denver in 2019 after serving PTI for nearly six years.
Meanwhile, Spirit Airways suspended its Florida routes in June 2020 after starting service in September 2018.
Spirit had as much as a 5.2% market share during its first two years at PTI.