Easterwood Airport Trying to Gain More Travelers

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It was a study to find out where passengers in the Brazos Valley were going and how they got there.

Easterwood airport has two airlines, Continental and American Airlines, and the extensive study showed smaller airports like Easterwood have been dealing with a number of issues since 9/11.

One of those issues is losing travelers to other airports, something John Happ, Director of Aviation, says they knew all along.

"I think what it did was confirm a lot of our suspicions of things we knew were happening but we just needed proof to be able to go and talk to airlines to help us solve some of these issues," says Happ.

Easterwood seems to serve more of the business travelers than the leisure customers. The goal: get more travelers to use the local airport rather than driving to nearby airports in Houston or Austin.

The study found 46 percent of local passengers travel from Easterwood, and 54 percent using other airports to get to their destination.

"The airlines have done a lot of things differently that have really hurt smaller communities, in many cases. Actually, Easterwood is doing better than most-we have many clients who are losing 70 percent of market to competing airports, so it’s much more significant problem than you have here," says Mike Boggs, Airport Consultant for Mead and Hunt.

There was a recommendation for improving the publics view on airline tickets and schedules from Easterwood because of a perception that airfares are higher at a smaller airport, but the study showed that's not necessarily the case.

"The word we need to get out to the public is that we are competitive prices wise and considering the drive, the security issue, going to either the two hubs that we have now, that it is cost effective to fly out of Easterwood airport," says Happ.

The price and schedule changes are short term goals, but the study also leaves room for the opportunity to have another airline carrier move in to Easterwood down the road.