Airport attracts with “historically low” fare, industry must attract pilots

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If you’re looking to make a get-away, now may be the time. Air fare at Huntsville International Airport is historically low right now, according to officials there.

They say the airport is one of the fastest growing ones in the country. The good news is that means more passengers locally. For the aviation industry overall, it’s more pilots that they really need.

Last year the airport got two new airlines. That’s when prices started to drop.

“What was kinda cool about them is really as soon as we announced that they were coming out here our legacy carriers started lowering their prices,” said Megan Brantley with the airport.

Then once the planes actually took off they saw major differences. Brantley says they compare prices with other airports daily and last month it was $30 more to fly out of Huntsville than Birmingham.

For the local economy this means the sky’s the limit.

“Bigger industries that are looking at where to come, they look at the airport to see what types of non-stops and direct flights that we have,” Brantley said.

This good news comes at a time when the aviation industry needs people not only interested in being passengers, but in being pilots. George Davis with Signature Flight Support and the nonprofit FlyQuest says the nationwide pilot shortage is affecting everyone.

Davis says a pilot’s license can cost more than $70,000 and a starting salary may be less than half of that. Plus pilots now are starting to age out.

The goal of FlyQuest is to get young people interested in being in the cockpit. In the mean time, lower fares are keeping passengers interested in getting on board.

Brantley says they’re hopeful at the airport that 2019 may bring some new expansion. She says it’s really a business airport, but the new airlines are opening the way for more leisure travel.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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