Atlantic City Airport Offers Lowest Fares, But Visits Fall

Atlantic City International Airport has been named by the U.S. Department of Transportation as offering the lowest fares of the top 100 U.S. airports. The airport is served by only one carrier—Spirit Airlines—a discount airline. Despite the low fares, a recent report has visitation to the resort continuing to decline.

Atlantic City International Airport offers the lowest fares among the top 100 airports in the country according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. A lot of good that does if visitation continues to dip.

Of course, when an airport is served by only one air carrier and that carrier is a discount airline, it seems like an easy win.

Atlantic City International has offered the cheapest fares since the second quarter of 2009. The Treasury Department’s latest reports—for the third quarter of 2013—puts Atlantic City’s average fare at $157, compared to $390 for airports nationwide.

Spirit Airlines, a discount carrier, is the only carrier presently serving the airport. The company specializes in low-budget flights to Florida.

In the third quarter of 2013, the average one-way fare from Atlantic City to Atlanta was $94, to Tampa was $103, to Orlando was $107, and to Fort Myers was $107, according to the report.

The report focuses only on base airfare and does not include extra fees charged by the airline.

Atlantic City International is about to get some new flights and a new carrier, however.

United Airlines launches daily service to Atlantic City from its Chicago and Houston hubs beginning April 1 and Spirit is also resuming seasonal flights to Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit on May 1.

At the same time, Atlantic City has seen its total number of visitors decline for an eighth straight year.

The resort saw 26.7 million visitor trips in 2013, down 2 percent from the 27.2 million in 2012, according to figures released by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

While the total number of visitors is down, along with casino revenue, those that come to the resort seem to be staying longer and spending more money on non-gaming amenities.

“There are still plenty of visitors coming here. They are spending somewhat less in the casinos, but are spending more on other amenities when they come,” said Israel Posner, executive director of the Levenson Institute told the Press of Atlantic City.

The report counts “visitor trips” and not necessarily the number of individual tourists that came to the resort. Posner said a core of between 4 and 5 million repeat visitors make up the bulk of the visits.

 “There’s no way to know for sure how many unique visitors there are,” he told the paper.

In other studies, the institute found that most of Atlantic City’s casino visitors come from New Jersey, particularly along the Garden State Parkway corridor.

Visitors primarily come to the city by car and bus, but visitor rates were down along all modes of transportation, the study found.