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United’s pull out from Killeen could cause travel price jump

United Airlines has announced it will halt service to the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport....
United Airlines has announced it will halt service to the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport. An expert predicts this could cause travel prices to increase.(Michael Cantu KWTX)
Published: Nov. 6, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 7, 2021 at 12:02 AM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Going into 2022 there will be less options for those flying from the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport.

United Airlines will suspend services after Jan. 4 because of pandemic-related shortages in Killeen and College Station.

That will mean no more direct flights to Houston from Killeen. This could also means higher prices for flyers.

“Whenever you have a decrease of service, yet you still have the same need for service, prices are going to go up,” said Carson Pearce, director of Aviation Science at Texas A&M University Central Texas.

After the holidays anyone using the regional airport can only fly through American Airlines to Dallas-Fort Worth.

“It’s going to be really tough in order to get to where you want to go and be somewhat guaranteed of getting there on time,” said Pearce.

With years of flying experience in Alaska, Pearce said he has seen the effects of the loss of a regional airport provider. There, the reliance on similar airports was even higher.

There were even jokes on the cost.

“It was cheaper to fly from Anchorage, Alaska, the main city, to London, England than it was to go to Tuntutuliak, which was a little native village of about 300 to Anchorage, Alaska,” said Pearce. “A distance of just about a few hundred miles.”

There is still hope from officials around Killeen that services will resume with United by the middle of next year.

The president of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, John Crutchfield III, sent KWTX News 10 an emailed statement.

“We have the passenger demand for these seats,” wrote Crutchfield. “In addition to continuing to work with United to restore service, our airport staff is already talking to new providers. I have no doubt that this disruption in service will be relatively brief and the impact on economic development will be minimal.”

But that could still mean individual customers will pay higher prices and have less options.

“Market capabilities will always be there if dollars are always there,” Pearce said.

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