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6 Investigates Follows-Up: The key to seeing growth at CCIA

Posted: 7:09 PM, Jul 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-22 20:26:26-04
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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In 2018, about 15 percent of all flights out of Corpus Christi International Airport were delayed and another 3 percent were canceled, according to data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Combined with already costly seats, the cancellations and delays may be contributing to why CCIA has struggled to gain market share over the years. More local travelers are opting for cheaper fares out of airports in San Antonio and Austin.

But, while cancellations and delays are in the hands of airlines and not airports, one thing is clear: to gain more flights and possibly cheaper options, regional airports like ours must see higher usage rates

"If you want more air service, here, we have to show the airlines more demand. We have to show them that there are more people in the community willing to get on the planes - make the service successful," says Kim Bridger-Hunt, CCIA's marketing manager.

Bridger says cancellations and delays can be higher in smaller airports that depend on regional operators like Mesa Airlines, which last year canceled more than 3 percent (103) of its scheduled flights into and out of CCIA.

Flight data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows passengers on 150 flights into or out of CCIA faced cancellations, last year, and 841 flights were delayed out of 5,571 flights overall. That's in line with airports of all sizes, throughout the United States.

Which is why city leaders and industry experts say there is no one, single solution to maximizing CCIA's offerings.

However, one thing is clear - Mayor Joe McComb does not support using public funding to subsidize airlines who might be lured to use more gates in exchange for guaranteed revenues.

"Corpus Christi tried that, as I understand it, several years ago. It didn't seem to have good results," McComb said.

Instead, McComb says local tourism officials should consider luring Texas-based, leisure travelers to Corpus Christi as a way of upping the airport's utilization.

"You can still get a flight down here pretty quickly," he says. "Come down on a Friday, do your fishing, your swimming, go to the beach, whatever you wanna do."