The parking lot at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport was filled Wednesday afternoon, as more and more Southeast Texans are choosing to fly from home.
"We've seen close to a 3% increase month over month in ridership," said airport director Alex Rupp.
However, American Airlines, which restored its service to Jack Brooks in February, has hit a bit of a rough patch in recent months. 27 flights to and from Beaumont were delayed in May, and 59 were delayed in June. Rupp says the majority of the delays were caused by maintenance issues with the current model airplane used.
"We've talked to American Airlines... and it looks like they're going do a fleet change-up to address some of these operational concerns," said Rupp.
Starting August 27th a smaller model plane, with 44 seats (6 fewer than the current model), will service Jack Brooks.
"Hopefully we can mitigate any of the cancellations and delays that are due to maintenance issues," said Rupp.
Also beginning August 27th, Jack Brooks will be cutting down on the number of daily flights offered to be more efficient. Right now 4 daily flights are offered Sunday through Friday, and 3 on Saturday. Because travel demand is low on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, flights on those days will be cut down to 3. And Saturday flights, also in low demand, will be cut from 3 down to 2.
One more change coming in August that frequent flyers may want to note: the last daily flight leaving from Dallas-Fort Worth will depart for Jack Brooks at 8:30 p.m. instead of 7:15 p.m. Officials say it will allow customers to make more convenient connections.