|Commercial air service needs in small and medium sized communities around Texas are getting a close look from state transportation officials.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has launched a 12-month study to examine scheduled air service needs for 25 Texas cities, as well as five cities in New Mexico and one in Arkansas.
The goal of the study is to provide local officials help in attracting or improving commercial air service and enhancing local economic development.
"Texas is a large state with more cities served by scheduled commercial air carriers than any other state in the nation," said David Fulton, aviation director for TxDOT. "We must do everything we can to assure that these communities have adequate access to our national air transportation system."
The study will evaluate the adequacy of existing commercial air service and investigate the feasibility of initiating airline service for communities without it. The study will also analyze how to improve air service, examine airline-pricing structures and its impact on potential passengers and identify criteria required by an airline to serve a community.
As part of the study, researchers will make on-site visits to each participating airport and survey travel agents, travelers, and businesses in each community.
The final report will include an appraisal of each air service market, including the local travel patterns and the economic impact air service has on the community. Recommendations for air service improvements for each city will also be included in the final report.
"Air transportation for these cities affects not only travel opportunities but also economic development," Fulton said. "We need to identify the impediments to improving air service and develop strategies to convince airline companies that profitable opportunities for improvement in service exist."
The study will cost $400,000, with 90 percent coming from federal funds, 5 percent from state funding and 5 percent from a local match.
Participating cities are Abilene, Alpine, Amarillo, Brownsville, Brenda, Carlsbad (NM), Clovis (NM), Corpus Christi, Del Rio, Harlingen, Hobbs (NM), Galveston, Georgetown, Laredo, Longview, Lubbock, Lufkin, Killeen, McAllen, Midland, Nacogdoches, New Braunfels, Roswell (NM), Ruidoso (NM), San Angelo, Temple, Texarkana (AK), Tyler, Victoria, Waco, and Wichita Falls.