TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas airport is hoping to be awarded a grant that will lead to increased travel, and maybe someday, more flight options for residents.
The money wouldn't be used to build onto the airport, instead it would be used to educate people on what the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport has to offer.
It's a well-kept and like-new airport. There is hardly ever a line at security, and the long-term parking is cheap. However, it's not being utilized to its fullest and airport administrators are hoping to change that.
"What we've found through our research, is that our airfares out of Tyler are competitive and we need to get the word out," says airport manager Davis Dickson.
Here's a look at some of that research the city is talking about:
American Eagle Round-trip Ticket (purchased one month prior to the trip)
Tyler to New York City- $345
Dallas-Ft. Worth to New York City- $394
Tyler to Washington D.C.- $329
Dallas-Ft. Worth to Washington D.C.- $354
Tyler to Orlando, FL- $315
Dallas-Ft. Worth to Orlando, FL- $274
United Express Round-trip Ticket (purchased one month prior to the trip)
Tyler to New York City- $370
Dallas-Ft. Worth to New York City- $257
Tyler to Washington D.C.- $455
Dallas-Ft. Worth to Washington D.C.- $534
Tyler to Orlando, FL- $369
Dallas-Ft. Worth to Orlando, FL- $421
"We'd like to see that service grow, increase the number of flights and maybe look at the possibilities of another hub we could serve," says Dickson.
Airport administration says if Tyler Pounds Regional Airport is awarded this grant, it won't just lead to air service enhancements...It'll also increase Tyler and East Texas' chances of attracting new businesses and other economic development opportunities.
"The more people that use it, the better for this region in terms of business clients getting the flights they want to make the connections they need," says Tom Mullins, Tyler Economic Development Council President and CEO.
Mullins says growing the airport will grow business opportunities.
"If this marketing effort works and we get more people to use it, hopefully we can convince the airlines to add more flights," says Mullins.
The grant the city is applying for would give them $250,000 from the United States Department of Transportation through the Small Community Air Service Development Program. All of the money would be for marketing purposes. A similar, but smaller, grant in the past resulted in a roughly 15 percent increase in Tyler air travel. The city hopes a larger grant would make a bigger impact and continue to pave the way for air travel in East Texas.
The city is finishing their grant application and collecting letters of support from the community. The deadline to submit a letter of support to the city is Tuesday. The City of Tyler might not know until late September if they've been awarded the grant or not.