SIOUX CITY | Around the Thanksgiving holiday, American Airlines will offer two daily flights between Sioux City and Dallas.
From Nov. 20-28, American will offer the second flight to its hub at the Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport as a way to test the service and ease holiday traffic congestion. Travelers can now make reservations for the added flight, which begins the Monday before Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, and ends the Tuesday afterwards.
After the test run, the airline said it will evaluate the traffic and consider making the second flight permanent.
Darrell Jesse, president of the Sioux City Airport Board of Trustees, said two daily flights to Dallas has always been a possibility after the Fort Worth-based airline launched a single daily flight in May 2016.
“We were hoping that after a year American would consider a second flight if the load factors were good on the one flight,” he said. “In the last several months, they’ve been over 80 percent, which is good.”
Airport manager Mike Collett also views the holiday test period as a chance for Siouxlanders to show American the market is strong enough to maintain the additional flight.
“It’s a great opportunity for the local community to show their support for American to bring another local flight,” he said.
Jesse thinks the key to the airport keeping this flight on a permanent basis is strong local support. He’s aware that lots of local fliers drive to Omaha’s Eppley Airfield; however, he noted that practice could hinder the chances of American expanding here in Sioux City.
“This isn’t complicated: If we, as Siouxland residents, use it, we’ll keep these flights. If we don’t, we won’t keep them,” he said. “It’s like a lot of things you use it or you lose it.”
Something Jesse hopes convinces more people to fly local is the convenience of Sioux Gateway.
“I’d much rather go through the airport here in Sioux City than Omaha,” he said. “In Omaha, you’re going through a lot longer security lines, check-in — it’s just a lot more difficult process at a big airport as opposed to Sioux Gateway.”
One benefit Jesse foresees of having two daily flight to Dallas out of SUX is the peace of mind it would give travelers.
“For starters, the one flight creates issues if there’s weather or mechanical problems, so having that second flight provides more reliability for the traveler to say, ‘OK, there’s two flights, so if something happens to one I can maybe get in on the second flight.’” he said. “As a traveler, I think you like having at least two flights and I think that would be a positive.”
Collett added: “It works better to have two flights rather than one for more consistency.”
Should this pan out, Jesse would love to see SUX get a flight to Denver or another city in the western United States that acts as a major airline hub.
“That would really round out the service at Sioux Gateway and give us a good compliment of flights,” he said. “If you can get to Chicago, Dallas, Denver, those are large hubs and you can get to a lot of places from those three airports.”
Collett also is looking at this additional flight as an opportunity to bring more flights to the airport.
“The more flights we offer out of here — it’ll be a domino effect is my thought,” he said.