KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Vision Airlines made a big splash in Knoxville earlier this year. The low-cost carrier had non-stop flights to Destin, Florida for as low as $19.
Now the airline has announced it's not financially realistic to operate flights to more than half its destinations. Starting August 19, it will no longer fly to Destin from McGhee Tyson Airport.
"It impacts three flights a week from our airport to the Destin market," said airport spokesperson Becky Huckaby.
The other affected locations include Chattanooga and Asheville, North Carolina.
"(The decision was) fully driven by demand," said Clay Meek, director of sales for Vision Airlines in an interview with Northwest Florida Daily News.
"We're keeping some very major cities, those cities (where) we did not see the sales fall off as school began to start. But these cities that we dropped, we saw a drastic, drastic decrease in sales as schools started. Obviously we don't fly empty planes," Meek said.
"The thing to know is a year ago, Vision Airlines didn't exist. It's a new airline. So they are working to determine what markets best work for them. That's something every airline does by moving flights around," Huckaby said.
If you're booked on a flight from Knoxville after August 19, the airline says it will give customers a full refund or reroute them through another destination.
Some of the closer locations that will keep flights are Atlanta, Georgia and Louisville, Kentucky.
Also, the airline could return to Knoxville next summer on a seasonal basis.
Airport officials don't believe this will be a major hit to McGhee Tyson, saying it was Vision Airlines that approached them to come to Knoxville.
While the airport did offer monetary marketing incentives to Vision, the airline chose not to make use of them.