Local News

Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport to Travelers: Use It... Or Lose It!

Posted May 25, 2000

— Officials atRocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airportwant travelers to fly out of their airport instead of driving toRDU International. But will a new billboard campaign by the airport take off? Use It... Or Lose It!There is no mistaking the message. The number of boardings at Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport is down 40 percent since last year.

Now comes news that its only passenger airline may be pulling out.

"We have been informed byU.S. Airways Expressthat they are trying to make a determination as to whether to continue service at Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport," says airport manager Hans Hess.

The fact is, in spite of the airport's convenience, more people are driving to RDU. For many travelers, price is priority.

"Rocky Mount-Wilson has more convenience and you don't have to pay for parking, but especially for vacationers, when you multiply the savings times a family of four, it pretty much boils down to the price," says travel agent Susan Hackney, who compared the rates.

  • A leisure trip to Washington two months from now will cost you $55 less at RDU.
  • A business trip from RDU next week is $65 less. To Los Angeles International in July, you will pay an additional $172. It will cost 30 percent more to fly out of Rocky Mount-Wilson.
  • The business trip costs 26 percent more.

    The airport says the clientele dropped off last year when Southwest's arrival led to a price war at RDU. Prices here have stayed the same.

    "Without competitive airfare and a consistent, good schedule, we're somewhat challenged in keeping the folks here," Hess says.

    The Airport Authority says it does not know what will happen if the big merger between U.S. Airways and United Airlines happens.

    As of Thursday, U.S. Airways Express says it has not announced plans to leave the Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport.

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