United’s withdrawal from Killeen could push up travel prices


KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) – In 2022 there will be fewer options for those flying from Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport.

United Airlines will suspend services after January 4 due to pandemic-related shortages at Killeen and College Station.

This will mean more direct flights to Houston from Killeen. It could also mean higher prices for flyers.

“Anytime you have a decrease in service, but still have the same need for service, the prices will 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 American Airlines to Dallas-Fort Worth.

“It’s going to be very difficult to get to where you want to go and kind of make sure you get there on time,” said Pearce.

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

There were even some jokes about the price.

“It was cheaper to fly from Anchorage, Alaska, the main city, to London, England, than to go to Tuntutuliak, which was a small hometown of about 300 people in Anchorage, Alaska,” Pearce said. “A distance of about a few hundred kilometers.”

Officials around Killeen are still hopeful that services will resume with United by the middle of next year.

Grand Killeen Chamber of Commerce chairman John Crutchfield III sent KWTX News 10 an email statement.

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

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

“The market’s capabilities will still be there if the dollars are still there,” Pearce said.

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