Imagine flying into George Bush Intercontinental Airport late at night after a lengthy vacation or business trip. You’re tired and jet-lagged, and you want nothing more than to go home and rest. Would you rather spend another two and a half hours driving home or fly directly into Victoria in 25 minutes?
The ability to fly to and from Houston—and, by extension, the rest of the world—is just one of the benefits of having a local airport. An airport is an economic engine, spurring new development and attracting commerce in a world where more people are traveling for business or pleasure. When you choose to fly local, you’re helping to build a better future for our airport and our community.
SkyWest Airlines, branded as United Express, has been flying out of the Victoria Regional Airport for the past three years. The service uses a 50-passenger jet plane with air conditioning and a flight attendant—a great improvement over the nine-passenger plane used by previous operators.
In addition, the United affiliation allows residents to book United flights from Victoria to anywhere in the world. Residents who fly local save money on airport parking and avoid wear and tear on their vehicles, to say nothing of the time they save by skipping the long drive to and from Houston.
Our airport is a community resource, and we continue to invest in its success. We’re preparing to replace Taxiway C, which is the one we use most frequently for runway exits, and we recently received a $1.23 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for new emergency response equipment.
More improvements could be in store if more residents use our air service. Airports that serve at least 10,000 passengers (enplanements) per year are eligible to receive $1 million in federal funding, much more than the $150,000 entitlement we currently receive.
We finished last year with close to 8,000 enplanements; this year, we’ve had about 7,000 so far, which is a significant improvement over where we were this time last year. 2023 is on track to be our best year yet, and it could very well be the year that we reach 10,000 enplanements.
To help us achieve our goal, Victoria County is offering a special promotion: Starting Aug. 22, the first 300 travelers who complete a trip valued at $300 or more will receive $100, and the first 300 travelers who complete a group trip valued at $600 or more will receive $250. You must present your paper ticket and airline confirmation/itinerary as proof that the trip was completed. For more information, please contact the Victoria Regional Airport at 361-578-2704.
I’m optimistic that residents who take advantage of this promotion will become regular flyers when they see how convenient our local airport is. I’ve seen firsthand how much residents love our service once they overcome their initial skepticism and give it a try. If you’ve never flown out of your local airport, now is the perfect time to pay us a visit. Support your community. Fly local.
To learn more about the Victoria Regional Airport and to book a flight, visit www.flyvictoriatx.com.
Vinicio “Lenny” Llerena is the executive director of the Victoria Regional Airport.