by Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - There's no doubt the high cost of fuel is making it tough for many airlines here in West Texas.
In fact, an online list published by business travel coalition put Midland International as one of the top 100 airports most at risk to loose airline service, but officials here say that list could be very misleading for folks in the Basin.
"As they put out a list like that, it's a generic list and people need to take it with a grain of salt to some degree, knowing that any airport could be at risk," Marv Esterly, Director of Airports for the City of Midland said.
While online lists may say different, airport directors say business is good.
They aren't planning for more cutbacks.
Instead, they say in the last month more flights have been added by two big companies.
This month alone American Eagle added their seventh non-stop round trip to DFW, and Continental told me the other day that will start on July first with a seventh non-stop round-trip to Houston," Esterly added.
So what goes in to putting Midland on a list of most at risk?
Airport officials say most of the criteria doesn't match the local airport, and there's one key factor they say is missing, the booming West Texas economy.
"It's noble to put a list out really to show the public out there that the airline industry is in some peril because of the rising fuel costs, but it is misleading saying this airport or that airport is or is not going to lose it, and to put the top one-hundred airports names in there, without utilizing specific detail information of the economies and things in those particular cities, is just not accurate," Esterly said.
Again, airline officials say many companies all over the Country could be at risk to cut back some flights, but right now they're not planning on it.
They say they've worked with the Midland City Council on projects to keep airlines up and running in the Basin.