WACO, Texas — As Central Texas airports near traffic levels not seen since before the pandemic began, they look to expand their service.
This comes as the city of Waco announced American Airlines will be adding an additional daily flight at Waco Regional Airport beginning in mid-August. It will allow for an additional 300 passenger seats per week.
Both Waco and Killeen are aiming to attract more airlines to service their airports. United Airlines discontinued its service to Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport at the beginning of the year.
"United is still in conversations with us, but we've had very robust conversations with several airlines," said Mike Wilson, executive director of aviation for the City of Killeen. Wilson couldn't disclose which airlines they are speaking with.
Waco Regional Airport will be undergoing terminal renovations starting next Monday, August 1. The ultimate goal for the airport is to eventually recruit more airlines to service the airport.
"Of course we want additional carriers and am excited about staff continuing those efforts to see which carrier will best serve Waco," said Waco District I council member Andrea Barefield, who also serves as the council liaison for the city's aviation advisory board.
With challenges within the airline industry, however, getting those airlines to service regional airports may be a challenge.
"As we come out of the pandemic, this is and has been a shortage of pilots," said Brett Snyder, airline expert and founder of 'Cranky Flier'. "There are a lot of airplanes just sitting on the ground at these regional airports because they don't have the ability to do it."
While Killeen is a recipient of a federal Small Community Air Service Development Program grant to find new airlines to expand its service, Wilson said he doesn't expect the city to solidify a deal with a new airline within the year.