Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Of the Three RGV Airports, Only One of Seven Passengers Use the Brownsville/South Padre Island "International" Airport

Pan Am Douglas DC-3 at Brownsville Airport, 1946
For those who recall the so-called heyday of the Brownsville/SPI International Airport, it may come as a shock that only 14.2% of RGV passengers getting on planes do so in Brownsville.

Airport Advisory Board, 8/23/2016
Those attending the Airport Advisory Board meeting Tuesday noon were given the calendar year's comparative numbers for the three RGV airports;  McAllen Miller International Airport(MFE), Harlingen's Valley International Airport(HAR) and Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport(BRO).

Airport Director Bryant Walker
Enplanements for the fiscal year totaled 762,647 for the three airports.  Brownsville's total enplanements stood at 108,638, 14.2% of the total. More passengers flew out of McAllen then Brownsville and Harlingen combined, 394,365 or 51.7% of the total.  Valley Int'l totaled 259,644 or 34% of the total.

When board member Luis Cavazos hinted that the numbers might indicate a lack of marketing for the airport, newly hired Airport Director Bryant Walker responded:  "These numbers show we have room to grow."

Board Secretary Chris Hughston theorized that "two thirds of the valley's population now lived in an area stretching from Weslaco to Mission."  He neglected to mention that adjacent to Brownsville is the valley biggest tourist draw, South Padre Island.  

When Cavazos noted that BISD and PUB administrators were flying out of Harlingen, not Brownsville, Marketing Director Michael Jones, a longtime valley newsman, explained that the State of Texas had a contract with Southwest Airlines, flying out of Harlingen.  

Jones added: "Now that American has a contract with the state, we expect that BISD and PUB officials will start flying out of Brownsville."

The airport now offers free wi-fi along a counter in the terminal. We found one user plugged in Tuesday.

Amelia's Cafe provides meals for airport customers as well as furnishes lunches for the members of the Airport Advisory Board.

The pace of the board seems to have quickened under Bryant Walker, hired as Airport Director this past May.  

In his Director's Report, Walker stated that plans to build a new airport terminal are "on schedule."  


  1. The airport's demise is old news. There is no "shock."

  2. No room for Debbie Downers !! We need to be innovative and use the land and expand the DAMN airport. Make Brownsville a desirable location the city commissioners are nothing but show boating, bragging, drunks that post every move on social media.



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