Jeff. Co. closer to deal with American Airlines

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick tells 12 News HD that the county has raised $1,450,000 so far in its effort to bring American Airlines back to Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

That puts it $50,000 shy of what the airline is asking: $1.5 million.

American Airlines just released September figures, and the company is struggling with a number of problems. That hasn't kept many people in the community from saying they want the airline back.

The Jack Brooks Regional Airport is empty today, like most days. If it offered commercial flights, people say they would show up.

"It would be a lot easier than driving to Houston every time you have to fly out," one person told us outside the Target near the airport.
"I think it would be good for the economy," said another.

Almost everyone we talked to said they want to see American Airlines  services back in Jefferson county.

"Definitely, because I know a lot of people would use it. I used to work at Exxon Mobil and I know a lot of people would come in for refinery business and they would fly in to here. Having to stay in Houston, having to stop in Houston to get the shuttle is not really, to me, the best option," said Michelle Battarbee.

American Airlines has seen its fair share of problems recently. Bankruptcy, loose seats that don't meet safety standards, and upset pilots leading to delayed and canceled flights caused the airline to take a hit in the number of passengers flying for business.

In September figures just released, American Airlines had 7% fewer paying passengers in domestic flights when compared to last year. It also had to cut domestic flights by 6% to make up for pilot shortages.
This news worried a few, but the airline's struggles don't seem to be a big issue for most.

"I don't think anybody else is even interested in coming into here, so I guess it's the lesser of two evils, but it would probably be good to give it another try," Battarbee said.

"It really doesn't make a difference to me, I don't fly anywhere I drive everywhere I go," said Chris Lamey.

For now, all they can do is wait.

If American Airlines and the county reach an agreement, they hope to have flights out of Jack Brooks by February.



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