Dothan Regional Airport receives grant, looking to grab new airline
By Greg Phillips
A new airline may be coming to Dothan after the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $750,000 grant to the Dothan Regional Airport.
The Small Community Air Service Development grant provides a minimum revenue guarantee for any potential carrier, and marketing director Jennifer Doherty said the airport is already looking at a potential suitor.
“(The grant) is targeted to small communities that have to face some of the challenges we face here, such as the lack of competition, which is one of the reasons our passengers face such high fares from the carrier we have,” she said. “Secondly, we’re the size market where it’d be risky for a new airline to come in and decide to offer service. They’re not going to come into a market where they don’t think they’ll be profitable anyway, but they’re looking for some level of community support, where we can go to them and say, ‘We know you’ll be a success, but if for some reason you’re not, we have this revenue guarantee we can supply to you.’”
Doherty said the airport has been in talks with American Eagle Airlines, which has been the most receptive of the numerous airlines that have been contacted.
According to its corporate website, American Eagle is a regional affiliate of American Airlines and is based out of Fort Worth, Texas.
The grant expires in two years, but Doherty said she’s confident a deal will be worked out within that time frame to bring a new airline into town.
“This year, we were very fortunate, because we have a few airlines interested in expanding their routes,” she said. “Alabama as a state and the Wiregrass as a community presented our grant to the federal government in a united voice.”