ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — On Wednesday the only sounds at the airport were revolving doors and empty escalators, but the hope is that in just a few days those halls will be filled with passengers’ voices.
Director of Transportation Services Don Green says service starts Oct. 21.
The Abilene Regional Airport will begin servicing to Houston at the end of the month with two flights per day.
Green says initial booking numbers aren’t what they expected, however.
“We’re at about a third of the seats booked on the first few days of flights,” said Green.
While they’re a little disappointed with the numbers, Green says it’s a trend all airlines are seeing during the pandemic.
“We would hope to be better than that at anytime of course,” said Green. “People are waiting much later to book their flights.”
The problem starts with Abilene Regional’s key customer demographic: business travelers.
“We have more than 44 of our locations of First Financial Bank within a 100 miles radius of the Houston airport,” said Will Christoferson.
He and Green both say in-person meetings now come with uncertainty, which is causing bookings to be delayed.
“Normally you schedule that flight as soon as you know that meeting, maybe it’s 30 days out, maybe it’s 45 days out,” said Green.
It’s not just the “businessman” that’s stopping seats from being filled, as Green says it’s about breaking habits of driving to Dallas-Fort Worth.
“We’ve done the work of getting United and Skywest here, now it’s up to the community to keep the service by using it, that’s the only way we keep this in the long run,” said Green.
The first flight leaves for Houston on Oct. 21.
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