By Michael Garko, In Airline News
Shreveport Regional Airport recorded its highest passenger count in nearly 15 years in 2011. The Louisiana airport saw 562,530 passengers in 2011, a 54,338 increase from 2010 despite some of the highest airfares in the country.
During the summer, Allegiant Air reinstated popular flights to its focus city in Orlando, while Vision Airlines briefly operated flights to Destin, Fl. “That helped during the summer, and we had consistent growth with our three network carriers” said interim airport director Bill Cooksey to the Shreveport Times.
Shreveport has been looking to lure a low-cost carrier for several years. In 2009, Forbes listed Shreveport in a tie for seventh on its list of “America’s Rip-Off Airports”. In 2011, the New York Times listed Shreveport as the third most over priced small airport in the country with an average fare of $580, which includes a $190 markup.
Kathryn Moore, a resident of Shreveport, created the Facebook page “Shreveport Needs Southwest Airlines” in hopes of showing executives at low-cost carrier Southwest that there is enough demand for flights out of Shreveport. Moore’s goal is to have 10,000 followers for the group. As of Feb. 5, the group has the support of over 8,100 followers.
Vision’s Destin service ended unexpectedly on August 26, 2011 despite encouraging load factors. On January 30, 2012, American Airlines’ regional carrier American Eagle converted all of its 78-seat ATR-72 turboprop aircraft to 44- and 50-seat Embraer 145 Regional Jets as part of its restructuring and fleet reduction under bankruptcy.