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Flights through Valley International Airport picking up, meeting demand now biggest concern

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Traveler confidence is increasing as vaccinations become more widely available. An airport in Harlingen shares they are concerned about being able to meet the demand.

RELATED: Fully vaccinated can travel again, says new CDC guidance

Valley International Airport’s (VIA) Director of Aviation Marv Esterly said there’s been a steady increase in traffic since March following a dip early in the year. As a result, airlines have increased their plane capacity by opening up previously blocked off seats. 

Esterly estimates the majority of travelers are now going on vacation or to see family and friends. As for visitors to the RGV, travelers are booking flights from multiple locations including Minneapolis, Minnesota and Denver, Colorado. 

While leisure is driving the market for now, he believes other reasons for travel will soon return. 

UPDATE: U.S. extends restrictions on non-essential border travel through April 21

“We suspect that’s going to go on for at least a year or so until the business travelers come back to the market, which I don’t think is that far away,” he said. “Our biggest fear now is getting capacity back in the market to service the citizens of the RGV.”

Esterly encourages anyone looking to book a flight, to do so as early as possible. Three to six months in advance will help ensure you get a seat. 

Despite some airlines’ relaxed restrictions in seating, masks are still required in the airport and during the flight.  

Esterly said he hopes everyone gets vaccinated, but in the meantime, the safety measures put in place at the start of the pandemic will remain. 

“We continually work on disinfecting high touch surface areas throughout the terminal building,” he said. “We still have all our barriers in place to ensure passenger’s safety and as well as employee’s safety. Our air handler units are still equipped with UV lights that help disinfect the air and kill viruses.” 

Friday, April 9, VIA will be announcing a new nonstop airline service, which will be livestreamed on their Facebook page.  

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