Yeager Airport Announces Plans To Add Flights To Dallas And Houston
Two new flight service routes are on the radar of West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW).
The airport has secured grant money from the Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP) to add direct non stop flights to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
CRW was one of 25 airports selected for the grant which is similar to the one used by Spirit Airlines to establish service to Orlando, Florida.
West Virginia International Yeager Airport Director and CEO, Nick Keller, said one of the airport’s long term goals has been to retain air service to high demand destinations. Both Dallas and Houston serve as international hubs for connecting flights to destinations around the world.
As the state’s economy continues to experience significant growth, Keller expects demand for air service will increase.
Charleston previously offered flight service to Houston on Continental but when that service ended a few years ago, the airport lost important westbound connectivity. The airport also briefly provided service to Dallas Fort Worth on American Airlines. Both flight routes operated smaller 50 seat regional jets.
“What we ran into here was weight penalties with the length of the runway,” Keller said. “It’s such a long flight that an airplane couldn’t necessarily take off on a hot summer day fully loaded, they may only be able to take 40 passengers instead of 50 and that makes that route a little less economical. Since that time, 50 seat regional jets have started to be retired in greater numbers and we have larger regional jets that serve the airport and all of the United States.”
The money from the SCASDP grant will fund start up negotiations with the airlines, and importantly, provide a minimum revenue guarantee — an insurance policy for airlines who incur substantial costs and risk when establishing new service. It will also cover recruitment and marketing costs to get the new routes up and running.
While American Airlines provided a letter of support for the grant, Keller said with the problems the airline industry is facing today, including a nationwide pilot shortage and scheduling issues, establishing the new flight service could take at least one to two years.