Local airport adapts to Southwest flight cuts - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Local airport adapts to Southwest flight cuts

Amarillo, TX - If you fly out of Rick Husband International Airport, you will soon see changes that could impact your wallet.

Southwest Airlines is cutting flights from Dallas Love Field to smaller airports across Texas, including Amarillo.

One flight has already been permanently grounded and more flights will soon suffer a similar fate. This November the option of nine Southwest flights a day will turn into six. One flight will go to Las Vegas and five others will go to Dallas Love Field. However, fliers will have to say goodbye to the flight to Denver.

Those flights have not been axed yet, but the airport is already serving about 900 fewer passengers than it did at this time last year.

"Right now, year over year we are down 2.8 percent," said Director of Aviation Sara Freese. "However, a lot of that especially with July has been airport and airway structure nationwide. There were a lot of storms and a lot of weather diversions that really caused havoc throughout the entire aviation system."

As Southwest discontinues flights, other airlines are stepping up to the plate. "Southwest is our biggest carrier and is approximately 60 percent of our market share. With them decreasing a little bit, we have had United and American Eagle pick up the slack a little bit," said Freese.

American Airlines is bringing in bigger birds, which is filling the gap in seats Southwest is leaving behind. "American Eagle has picked up and has brought in larger jets, an additional 25 seats a jet. We have three flights daily, so an additional 75 seats so far. Slowly but surely it will even out. We're holding strong, and especially for a small market like ours, we're holding pretty good," said Freese.

There are still options to travel on other carriers, but Freese said the price tag for those tickets is going up. "Flights across the board have gone up, and not necessarily just because Southwest has left. With that, there is the opportunity for people to still fly, but Southwest may not always be the cheaper option."

Although Southwest is reducing the number of flights to Amarillo, the company said they have no intention of stopping service to Rick Husband.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10
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  • Madison Alewel

    Madison Alewel

    Madison anchors the 4, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. She joined NewsChannel10 as a reporter in October 2013.

    Madison anchors the 4, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. She joined NewsChannel10 as a reporter in October 2013.

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