Major new route could be added at Huntington Tri-State Airport

Local News

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — If you’re looking at booking your next trip or traveling for work, you tend to look for the fastest and most convenient option.

At the Huntington Tri-State Airport, those options are currently somewhat limited, but officials there are looking to change that by adding a new route.

“I definitely think it needs to happen…One-stop travel would be a lot easier than ‘I have to go here, to connect here to connect here,'” says Courtney Dean, a resident of Guyandotte.

This is a feeling many travelers coming through this airport connect with.

“The more opportunities we have, you know we have one flight to Charlotte now basically and time is very important to people and having to fly east to get west takes ’em longer,” says Toney Stroud, interim president of the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“They have to go to Charlotte to do a change and then fly out. Well that’s out of the way to go to Charlotte!” says Jackie, who flew through the Huntington Tri-State Airport Wednesday.

This is a reality that could soon change, however, thanks to a $750,000 dollar grant the airport received in August.

This airport is three-quarters of the way there to expanding their destination options.

“It’s called the Small Community Air Service Development Grant…There is a community match tied to that and that amount is $250,000. It cannot come from the airport, it has to come from the community. We’re primarily seeking business–that really gets the attention of the airline,” says Brent Brown, airport director at the Huntington Tri-State Airport.

If they reach this million-dollar goal, there could be a game-changing new route there.

“A Dulles to Huntington to Chicago, and then back,” Brown says.

People in the area tell 13 News this all sounds pretty great.

“It would be an advantage to have it here because of money!” Jackie says.

“We need more money somehow coming into Huntington, whether it’s the airport, food, whatever!” Dean says.

To facilitate getting the community businesses on board, the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce is lending a hand.

“We represent 560 local businesses here in Cabell-Wayne County area so you know just reaching out to those businesses I’m sure this will be beneficial to many of those,” Stroud says.

“I think it would help the Tri-State improve some of their flights, maybe get more interested into it. Because let’s face it, it’s a small airport. And maybe they could enlarge a little bit,” Jackie says.

Brown says the airport brings in around $3,000,000 dollars per year in revenue as a non-profit, and having this extra route could increase that.

Those in the hospitality industry in Huntington agree.

“Well coming off of a couple of years of some of the hardest time the hospitality industry has ever had in its history with COVID, any and all forms of extra travel and things to this area are very exciting for us… However we can be of support, we’d love to,” says Desiree Besemer, sales director for DoubleTree by Hilton Huntington.

The airport has this grant for five years, but Brown says it’s harder than ever to get airlines interested in taking on new routes due to revenue decreases from COVID.

However, most seem hopeful this will come to fruition.

If you are interested in donating, reach out to the Huntington Tri-State Airport, or the Huntington Regional Chamber.

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