Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA) is working hard to increase the number of airlines servicing the airport – and increase the number of flights in and out as well – and, recently, some airport officials enlisted the help of an airline dating service in Nashville to do just that.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a dating service; however, from Monday, June 3 through Wednesday, June 5, airport marketing staff attended an event in Nashville called “Jumpstart” that’s very much like a dating service for airlines and airports.

Jumpstart helps both parties find the perfect match and it also provides education to airport officials on ways to attract more airlines.

Jumpstart is put on by Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) in order to help commercial airports around the country, and around the world, get more airlines and flights by arranging short purpose-driven meetings between the two.

According to information published in PTIA’s June newsletter, in the past the Jumpstart event has helped the airport add new airlines and new flights, and, this year, it stated, representatives of the airport were able to meet with seven airlines.  In those meetings, PTIA representatives expressed the particular needs of the airport while the airlines explained their criteria for establishing service at a new airport.

PTIA has seen some very positive trends over the last few years in terms of passenger traffic and flights – however, there’s still a great desire to see more airlines serve PTIA with more destinations.

This has been a goal of airport officials for decades. Several years ago, PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker explained part of the problem when he told the Rhino Times that airline mergers and other financial decisions made by carriers have decreased the airport’s number of prospects.

“The number of available airlines for us to pursue is shrinking,” he said. “Unfortunately, markets like ours have been hurt by consolidation in the industry.  As the hubs decline, we lose services.”

He also said at that time that mergers were largely the result of airlines looking to cut costs.

“The way airlines do that is to eliminate hubs,” he said.

He said that hurts airports such as PTIA.

According to Baker, the problem is nationwide and cities such as Pittsburgh, Memphis and Cincinnati have all been hit hard by airline mergers.

Airport officials are hopeful that this June effort will help create a new love connection between PTIA and at least one new airline.