CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Tuesday, the City of Corpus Christi gave approval for the Corpus Christi International Airport to apply for a grant to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
If awarded, CCIA would develop a new non-stop destination, likely Denver. The grant would provide CCIA with funds that would protect airlines who decide to add a Denver route from Corpus Christi, should they lose money through the route.
“It allows us to give a revenue guarantee to an airline, and we specifically made it for Denver, or a West Coast market,” said Kevin Smith, the director of aviation for the City of Corpus Christi. “It will give us another tool in our tool belt to go to the airlines and say, ‘not only do we have a fly local pledge from our businesses, we have an incentive program, but we also have a revenue guarantee, so there’s no chance you can lose money to try this route.’”
CCIA received several letters of recommendation from Mayor Paulette Guajardo, the Port of Corpus Christi, the Denver International Airport, and more.
“They [Denver International Airport] realize too that Corpus Christi is their number one market that’s under-served,” said Smith. “So, they’re wanting the route just as bad as we do.”
Smith said Corpus Christi loses a lot of traffic for people traveling to Denver to the nearby travel hubs.
“We’re losing about 78% of our Denver traffic to San Antonio, Austin, and Houston,” he said. “So, if we can capture that market with a non-stop, hopefully reasonably priced, flight, we feel like we can not only fill up the Denver route, but also people making connections in Denver.”
The grant is only available for small airports, and CCIA is competing with several other small airports in Texas for the grant, but Smith is confident CCIA will be chosen.
“Basically, they look at all the supporting documentation, and I think we made a really, really strong case,” he said.
Smith said if the grant is approved, and Denver is added as a location, the airport will pitch the trip to airlines, including the ones already at CCIA.
He said if more destinations are added, he would like to see direct flights to Las Vegas, or somewhere on the East Coast, with Charlotte or Atlanta as possible options.