East Texas airports see decreases in passengers in 2015

East Texas airports see decreases in passengers in 2015

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - East Texas airports are hoping for a better 2016 after big losses in 2015 when it comes to the total number of passengers arriving or departing from local airports.

The data from the East Texas airports was measured in enplanements, when someone boards a plane, and deplanements, when someone leaves a plane.

Tyler Pounds Regional Airport saw 142,014 passengers in 2015, a 15.79 percent decrease from 2014. East Texas Regional Airport near Longview also saw a decrease in 2015, seeing 39,028 passengers, a 6.8 percent decrease from the previous year.

Tyler Airport Passengers
Year Passengers % Change
2001 122,750 -15%
2002 110,108 -10%
2003 119,057 8%
2004 139,290 17%
2005 169,140 21%
2006 153,472 -9%
2007 152,070 -1%
2008 149,614 -2%
2009 145,270 -3%
2010 146,091 1%
2011 142,698 -2%
2012 144,762 1%
2013 167,468 16%
2014 168,645 1%
2015 142,014 -16%

Tyler Pounds Regional Airport Manager Davis Dickson said several factors came together to add to Tyler's large decrease in passengers in 2015 including the economy, weather and a large construction project underway on the airport's largest and oldest runway, Runway 4-22.

"I think there's multiple factors, a lot of our passengers are business travelers and some are tied to the oil industry," Dickson said. "But in talking to the airlines, they seem to think more how the weather was this year."

Dickson also pointed to area research that showed other similar sized airports also showing losses. The report from Mead and Hunt, Inc. showed a decrease in passengers at airports in Killeen, Waco and Beaumont/Port Arthur.

The report also showed that from June 30, 2014 - June 30, 2015 Tyler saw a six percent decrease in revenues, while seeing a two percent hike in ticket prices. Longview saw a one percent increase in revenue for the same time period while seeing an eight percent increase in the average ticket price.

One factor unique to the Tyler airport is the ongoing long-term construction project to the airport's Runway 4-22. The project is revamping and lengthening the facilities already-longest runway.

Tyler Pounds Regional has been keeping the airport's other two runways open for the airport's two regional carriers to continue operation, however in certain conditions, it could limit the number of people able to take off or land at Tyler Pounds.

"Sometimes the year the airlines will have to limit the weight in that airplane causing that airplane where they can't fill it completely," Dickson said.

The weight restrictions are not always in effect and are only needed in certain circumstances.

"We're also communicating with our airlines by checking airfares how are they comparing to other markets," Dickson said. "I've seen a number of cases where it could be $20 more on a round trip -- to me that's worth it."

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