Toledo Express is really a beautiful facility, especially in the last 10 years as remodels have made it modern and much cleaner than what I remember it being in the 70's and 80's. I have flown out of Toledo several times and always find it much more relaxing of an experience than DTW.
That being said, there are some major management and airline issues that need to be resolved...quickly.
1.) MANAGEMENT/ATTRACTING AIRLINES: Whomever is in charge at the Port Authority should be fired and prosecuted for what has happened to Toledo Express over the past 10 years. Just dereliction of duty in attracting airlines to Toledo. Sure, some if it is our slow economy, but c'mon. Only 2 major airlines now fly into Toledo, with some specialty carriers (Allegiant, Direct Air) mainly going to Florida (more on this in a moment). If all the P.A. wants to do is make Express a cargo hub, that's fine. But tell us up front so we can quit wasting our time and tax money with passenger service.
Now, you might say "Oh, it's not their fault...Detroit is just so close it gets all the flights." OK, for those that believe that, I want you to take a look at Dayton Intl Airport. Pulling up to the terminal entrance, you'd swear it was Toledo, except there are passengers.
Yes Dayton is a little bigger than we are in the Toledo area (800,000 to 500,000), but if memory serves, there is a huge airport just about an hour away in Cincinnati (N. Kentucky actually). Why isn't Dayton's airport eviscerated like Toledo's? What are they doing to KEEP passenger traffic.
2.) FLIGHT SELECTION: Like I said, only 2 major airlines and a couple of "Florida Only" flights 3 days a week. The destinations are Detroit and Chicago. I guess if you're heading say...oh...EAST your out of luck. Why is it only these two destinations. Delta/Northwest has hubs in Minneapolis, Memphis, Atlanta (I know, that route has been here before), Cincinnati, and other destinations that are mid-range...certainly not just a simple DRIVE away. Going to Chicago on American is somewhat better, but again, if you're final destination is east, this seems to be a waste of time (especially as a business person). Just spend an hour, drive to Detroit, and 1 1/2 hours later, you're in New York City or any of the other major East Coast cities.
Is Toledo now so bereft of business that a daily flight to New York City, Washington DC, Boston, or even resumption of service to Atlanta is completely out of the question? If so, that speaks not to a region that is dying--it's dead.
Maybe the bigger question should be "Why isn't Toledo successful at attracting low-cost carriers who actually PREFER alternate airports?" Southwest is out of the question, but there are others (JetBlue for example) that I"m sure could make a go of it.
Of course, I'm sure there is market research driving some of these decisions and if the airlines were convinced there is a market, they would be at TOL already. So what's really going on--is somebody at the P.A. not doing their job promoting the airport or is there some much political crap behind the scenes that the airlines have decided it's just not worth it?
3.) COST: There is no way I'm paying $100-$150 more for the "convenience" of Toledo Express. When I lived on the West Coast, I remember getting fares that were $20-$40 more, but I ate it and figured that saved my family a drive and I could spring for that. Now it is just ridiculous.
I have to fly to St. Louis soon and here's the difference: DTW-STL (on Delta/Northwest)=$140 (taxes included). TOL-CHI-STL=$250. I'm charged more for a longer trip (because I'll be sitting on my ass in Chicago). Why would I take that deal when I can just do a simple non-stop for over $100 less? I'm not opposed to having a layover, but don't charge me a premium for it!
Sorry for the long post--you asked for 2 cents and I wrote at least 5 cents worth. But I wish nothing but the best for Toledo Express and hope it can pull out of its nosedive.