Business at Jack Brooks Regional Airport Soars - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Business at Jack Brooks Regional Airport Soars

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More passengers have traveled out of the Jack Brooks Regional airport this year than the previous three years combined.

A cost sharing agreement between American Airlines and the State of Texas has brought more flights to the area. Not even six months ago, the airline was relying on a revenue guarantee to back flights from Jefferson County to Dallas-Fort Worth.

For the first time since the revenue guarantee started, there will not be a need to dip into the $1.5 million fund.

The agreement started after the commuter service to Bush Intercontinental ended in July 2012, causing Southeast Texans to drive to Houston to catch certain flights. The funds for the cost sharing agreement were raised by Jefferson County, taxpayers, private business and individuals.

Because of the free parking, the 31,000 locals who have flown out of the airport have saved more than $1 million in parking fees.

Passengers like Alex Vantarakis, who was visiting his in-laws in Beaumont this holiday, said the flights to DFW have helped his family see each other more often.

"I think it's great, I actually wish there were more flights," he said. "My wife's father lives here and he drives 6 hours to visit us, so the 50 minute flight is much better."

The airport manager also says 97 percent of the flights have been completed and delays have been reduced. The goal is for the route to become established after two years.

With the recent merger between American and US Airways the current agreement is expected to be extended, possibly for another two years.

Also, since the airport had more than 10,000 departing passengers this year, it is eligible for one million dollars in FAA grant funding.

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