Boeing 737 Max groundings affecting potential new flight at Roanoke airport

Airport spokesperson says the groundings are the biggest obstacle to new Dallas flight

ROANOKE, Va. – While you won’t see a Boeing 737 Max landing in Roanoke, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport is feeling the effects of the grounding of these jets.

A spokesperson for the airport said Monday that American Airlines is down about 50 planes and that those losses are the biggest obstacle holding back a potential new flight to Dallas.

Many airlines are now frequently reworking schedules for their planes and are largely not adding new routes, said Brad Boettcher, director of marketing and air service development.

“It’s frustrating,” he said.

An air service consulting firm that the airport hired recently released a report showing a direct option to Dallas would be profitable.

Boettcher said they initially thought the service would be underway by this point in the year, but he’s hopeful the flight between Roanoke and Dallas will become a reality once the airlines solve the problems stemming from the out-of-service planes.

Getting more regional planes is one option for American, he said, and one of those planes may become the Roanoke-to-Dallas flight.

Despite the holdups in the search for a new destination out of Roanoke, Boettcher said the day-to-day operations at the airport have gone smoothly since the grounding of the 737 Max.

Delta doesn’t use the specific plane from Boeing, and most of the flights in and out of Roanoke are in planes smaller than those.

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