American Airlines has switched around the scheduling for Gainesville Regional Airport’s daily Miami flight.
The airline has phased out the smaller aircraft used, Embraer ERJ-145, and will now operate the service with a 76-seat Embraer ERJ-175. The change will reduce the number of flights from two a day to one and lower the number of daily passengers by 24 each way.
“Is it better or worse? In this case, the connections are way more beneficial,” said Erin Porter, the airport’s public relations manager, in a phone interview.
The current flights arrive at difficult times for connections. But the new flight to Miami will leave at 6:30 a.m. and arrive down south at 7:42 a.m. Porter said the early arrival allows passengers more options to catch a flight from Miami.
The daily return trip to Gainesville will leave Miami at 9:30 p.m. and arrive at 11 p.m.
Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV) relies on the airlines to set the flights and locations, feeding the companies information to help improve options.
Porter said the local community suffered when American Airlines cut the Miami flight during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said UF professors, students and biotech companies had to find alternatives until the flight got reestablished in October 2021.
In a GNV press release, CEO Allan Penksa said Miami is a strategic international hub for both business and tourism.
“Miami and surrounding Dade County are key destinations to our University of Florida community, including students, staff, families and alumni,” Penksa said. “Our business community is also a big user of the route, and with a more stable post-pandemic schedule, we encourage our citizens to take advantage of the opportunities the route and schedule offer.”
GNV ferried 535,693 passengers in 2022, both commercial and charter, to record its second highest year ever. The airport saw its highest number of passengers—558,246—in 2019 before the pandemic slowed traffic in 2020 and 2021.
In December 2022, the latest month with data, GNV saw 40,342 passengers. April was the airport’s biggest month in 2022 with 50,539 passengers.