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TRI's Dallas-Fort Worth service took off in first month

Hank Hayes • Oct 24, 2019 at 6:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — American Airlines' new Dallas-Fort Worth flights at Tri-Cities Airport "seem to be doing well," Airport Authority commissioners were advised on Thursday.

The service began last month.

"We have more inbound passengers using it than outbound, which is interesting and great for our community," Airport Marketing and Air Service Development Director Kristi Haulsee told commissioners. "We will have more solid information about that probably after the first quarter (of 2020)."

The airport parking lot is almost full. What's being done to increase capacity?

"It's a good problem, but it is still a problem," said Airport Executive Director Gene Cossey. "At some point, we're going to have to figure out what to do when we get to 100 percent capacity. We need to address that issue now. Before too long, we may be bringing to you a project to expand the lot or give us some more spaces. We're looking at several different options."

What other projects are in the works?

Airport Authority commissioners approved a more than $70,000 allocation to begin engineering work on upgrading the airport's rental car facility. The wash bays at the facility clean more than 10,000 cars every year, and new wash bay equipment is expected to be installed.

With construction, the project is expected to cost about $775,000 and will be paid for by customer facility charge fees.

"We collect a little bit off each rental car," Airport Deputy Director David Jones said of the fees. "We've used that money in the past for new parking signs. For the facility, we've done maintenance over the years. We are looking at rehabbing the car wash equipment itself ... the road that services that facility is in really bad shape.”

The airport is served by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Allegiant Air.

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