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Airport says cut by airline won't hurt

Published Oct. 1, 2005

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport will lose about 60,000 passengers a year when SunJet cancels its flights to Dallas-Fort Worth after Monday.

But airport director James G. Howes expects overall passenger volume to be up this year because American Trans Air is adding 13 flights a week starting June 4.

The SunJet cutback is bad news for cost-conscious Tampa Bay travelers who are heading to Dallas. Passengers will have to fly out of Tampa International, on Delta and American, at rates Howes said would be significantly higher.

SunJet is offering full refunds to passengers whose trips were booked before the route was dropped. SunJet will continue to offer two flights a day from St. Petersburg-Clearwater to Newark, N.J.

SunJet also is cutting its service from Dallas to Newark and from Dallas to Long Beach, Calif., from two daily round trips to one. The company is blaming the cuts on too few bookings this spring.

Howes said SunJet officials told him intense competition from American Airlines in Dallas/Fort Worth led to the cuts.

He said SunJet served 28,000 passengers at St. Petersburg-Clearwater in the first two months of this year, compared with 30,000 passengers in the same two months last year.