The sold-out Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce 2023 Annual Meeting inspired our team at CareSource. Being together with 450+ business leaders seems even more meaningful following the Covid years of cancellations and Zoom meetings. It was a privilege for our team to honor the award winners and celebrate the Chamber’s increase in membership and incredible retention rate. CareSource is proud to be able to partner with the Chamber on issues that impact our community.
As part of the meeting, we were particularly intrigued and inspired to hear from Thomas Rajan, Vice President, Global Sales, at American Airlines. Rajan spoke about the future of the airline industry in mid-sized cities like Dayton. We support American Airlines and our local friends at PSA Airlines in their work to solve issues like the pilot and air traffic controller shortages that are impacting the short- and long-term availability of flights at airports like Dayton.
Rajan shared multiple reasons for the major reductions we’ve seen in flight availability since the pandemic. American Airlines alone is offering 10 fewer flights per day from Dayton, a trend that is shared among the remaining airlines serving our airport. As he explained, and quite frankly all of us who travel have experienced firsthand, “The skies are quieter around Dayton, but they don’t need to be.”
Like many employers, CareSource experienced a dramatic shift in our workforce during the pandemic. Despite this, we are leaning into a phase of opportune growth that will be good for our business, our members and good for Dayton. With CareSource employees now located in 47 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, air access to our Dayton Headquarters is more important than ever. As Dayton’s largest downtown employer, direct, competitively priced flights for our customers, partners and remote employees are critical to our ability to grow and expand in Dayton. Quite simply, we need more flights in Dayton—our business depends on it.
The need extends beyond just the business community. Wright Patterson Air Force Base is more than just the region’s largest economic driver, it is also a key part of our national security. Wright-Patt is where we ensure that our military is equipped for the missions of today, while the technology and capabilities needed to counter the threats of tomorrow are designed and developed. Ensuring that Wright-Patt remains connected to our nation’s defense and industry infrastructure is critical.
Rajan concluded his remarks by saying, “Voices of business leaders in the community need to get louder. You will help us restore vital air service to Dayton.” CareSource fully agrees and is joining forces with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce to address this issue. Air service at Dayton International Airport is essential to the Chamber’s mission to support and grow business here. It is critical to CareSource’s business, and we bet it is for yours too. We ask you to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us to support and advocate for OUR airport.
Chief Legal Officer, CareSource & President, CareSource Military & Veterans