ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke airport hopes adding two new direct destinations to its flight list will increase its bottom line.
Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport's (ROA) executive director, Tim Bradshaw, acknowledged a drop in passengers and said expensive fares are to blame. He pointed out algorithms - controlled by the airlines and based on the economy, demand, geography, etc. - set the prices, not the airports.
Bradshaw said ROA works with airlines to come up with ways to adjust the algorithms to keep prices affordable, but the airport has to prove to the airlines lower prices will ultimately mean more flyers and profits. He also said ROA is applying for a Department of Transportation grant, which could allow it to offer incentives to airlines to help lower the costs.
ROA says almost 40 percent of lost passengers are people who choose driving to airports like Charlotte, Greensboro, Lynchburg and Washington-Dulles to get a better fare.