KLTV 7 Investigates: East Texas airports rank at the top of canc - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

KLTV 7 Investigates: East Texas airports rank at the top of canceled flights

An American Airlines regional flight takes off from Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. (Source: KLTV Staff) An American Airlines regional flight takes off from Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. (Source: KLTV Staff)
American and United regional flights are parked at the terminal for Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. (Source: KLTV Staff) American and United regional flights are parked at the terminal for Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. (Source: KLTV Staff)
KLTV 7 showed our findings on cancellations to Tyler Airport Manager Davis Dickson. (Source: KLTV Staff) KLTV 7 showed our findings on cancellations to Tyler Airport Manager Davis Dickson. (Source: KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The two airports which have commercial passenger flights rank at the top of canceled flights, according to data by KLTV 7 Investigates.

Tyler Pounds Regional Airport and East Texas Regional Airport in Gregg County ranked in the top three in terms of percentage of canceled flights over the past year in data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Passengers moving through the airports in July have had no problems.

"Nothing this small, this is about the smallest I've been to," Carol Widegren, said, who was traveling from Tyler to Chicago.

"I've never had a flight canceled or delayed or anything like that I can think of," Marilyn Flowers said.

KLTV 7 Investigates looked over thousands of records from the USDOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, showing every departure and arrival to and from Tyler and East Texas Regional Airports.

East Texas Regional Airport in Gregg County topped the list of airports across the state in canceled flights in 2014 at 3.6 percent canceled flights. Waco Regional Airport was second on the list, followed by Tyler Pounds Regional Airport at 3.1 percent.

Tyler Airport Manager Davis Dickson said the cancellation factor for East Texas boils down to one major factor.

"One of the things we saw that was unusual for our area this year was the weather -- a lot of rain and of course we saw those ice and snow events," Dickson said.

The numbers for 2015 show a spike in cancellations thanks in part to a major severe weather and winter weather season across East Texas.

In Tyler, Envoy Airlines, which runs American Airlines flights, has had cancellation rates rise from three percent in 2013 to 4 percent in 2014 and with severe weather in 2015, an eight percent cancellation rate in 2015. Over at ExpressJet, who serves United and occasionally American flights, has seen an increase in cancellations year after year.

In Gregg County, it is much of the same story.

The one carrier there, going from four percent cancellations in 2014 to nearly seven percent in 2014. With weather affecting many flights in East Texas, the regional airport experiences rates that show one in nearly ten flights have been cancelled so far in 2015.

Dickson said like weather, many factors are out of their control.

"One of our goals at the airport here at Tyler Pounds is we always want to make sure our facilities are here, to make sure flights don't cancel," Dickson said. "I think our part in this whole puzzle is really making sure our facility is reliable."

American Airlines agreed that weather has been a major factor in canceling flights.

"Weather will typically impact regional carriers more often compared to mainline service as smaller aircraft may be delayed and/or cancelled at a higher rate when runway capacity is reduced," Ross Feinstein with American Airlines said. "As you are well aware, we have had challenging weather the past few months at DFW.

"If you are looking at percentage, TYR only has five flights a day, and GGG only has two. So those will definitely stand out if you are measuring it as a percentage. July has been much better, since the weather has improved."

United Airlines, which operates flights through ExpressJet at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, did not provide comment for this story.

Other factors that can contribute to a canceled flight include flight restrictions placed on crew members. They have a limit on how long they can work on flights per day.

We're also told that if a regional flight is not guaranteed to get back to its hub -- whether it be in Dallas or in Houston, it may not take off from that hub city at all.

"There's a perception that the single plane makes single trips each day and they're traveling through a nationwide system," Dickson said. "So it's hard for us to control where those aircraft may go and how they're handled."

But for those travelers we spoke with, regional flights are their way to go.

"I get over here in about thirty minutes, get through security, very easily get on the plane and off I go," Flowers said.

For the vast majority that is the case. Both East Texas airports average about 74 percent on-time rate. The national average is about 76 percent. 

We're told the best advice is to book a flight as early as possible that way there are other chances to catch later flights and you avoid showers and storms that affect mostly afternoon and evening flights.

Copyright 2015 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly