Owensboro Airport Affected by Hurricanes and Texas Airport Squabble

The after-effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are driving costs of the federal subsidy that keeps air service in Owensboro to the breaking point.

In the study, released this week, Eclat says repealing the Wright Amendment would "trigger a chain reaction leading to significant losses in the number of flights and destinations served at DFW."

And it adds, "The loss includes both international routes and service to dozens of small- to medium-sized cities throughout Texas and the United States."

The study says that "smaller communities would bear the brunt of the changes, losing vital access to the nation's air transportation system that they enjoy today via DFW, as American Airlines is forced to move flights to Love Field."

"American and the other airlines currently operating out of DFW would be forced to move a large number of flights from DFW Airport to Love Field to compete with Southwest Airlines if the amendment is repealed," William S. Swelbar, president and managing partner of Eclat Consulting, said in a news release.

"If that happens, 'hub degradation' would take place, making marginal routes unprofitable," he said. "Inevitably, those unprofitable routes would be eliminated."

And that's where Owensboro comes in.

The study says that "small cities that rely solely on federally-subsidized Essential Air Service provided by the AmericanConnection carriers will see the effectiveness of their only air service degraded as they lose the ability to connect to important domestic and international destinations."

The cities listed are primarily those served by RegionsAir and the St. Louis hub -- Burlington, Iowa; Kirksville, Cape Girardeau, Joplin and Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo; Marion, Quincy and Decatur, Ill.; Owensboro; and Jackson, Tenn.


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