Abilene Regional Airport (Guide)

Abilene Regional Airport (ABI) is positioned 3 miles from Abilene, Texas. The airfield is operated and owned by The City of Abilene.

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More about Abilene Regional Airport (Guide)

Abilene Regional Airport (Guide)

Abilene Regional Airport (ABI) is positioned 3 miles from Abilene, Texas. The airfield is operated and owned by The City of Abilene.

Abilene Airport mostly operates general aviation services and military training. Abilene Regional Airport is currently only served by a single airline company, Envoy Air functioning as American Eagle, with daily regional jet trips to Dallas-Ft. Worth. American Eagle added an extra jet flight to Dallas-Ft. Worth in 2014, hence boosting the number of trips to The American Airlines hub. Continental Connection, managed by Colgan Air, dropped Saab 340 aircraft flights to Houston Intercontinental Airport in 2008. Allegiant Airlines ran twice-weekly trips to Las Vegas with MD-80 jetliners in 2006 and 2007 before discontinuing all service to Abilene Airport. Charter airlines such as Sun Country remain to be operational on an occasional basis towards Las Vegas with Boeing 737.

Airline companies have always faced difficulty concerning the profitability of jet service into Abilene. New airline services to the west and northwest primary airline hubs such as Denver and Phoenix are a priority for airport administration. Many citizens and local area residents drive to the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport instead of flying out of Abilene Airport. The appearance of 50-seat jets has the strong potential to render air service from Abilene to other cities.

Subcontractors mainly provide air freight operation to ABI. Major carriers, such as USPS and UPS, once served the airport; now they ground transport their packages in from Dallas-Fort Worth, while the majority of Abilene-bound FedEx Express packages are shipped through Lubbock.

For about ten years, Native Air had an emergency medical helicopter and crew stationed at the airport but terminated the base in 2014. The city's emergency medical helicopter assistance is administered by Air Evac Lifeteam, with its stationed team at Hendrick Medical Center.

Abilene Regional is also a headquarters to Eagle Aviation Services, Inc., which conducts heavy-maintenance services for American Eagle planes. The company maintains every aircraft in the airline's fleet. The airfield areas also served as a boneyard for American Eagle's planes, storing around 20 discharged Saab 340 aircraft.

History

American Airlines was operating at Abilene Airport during the mid-30s, using the airfield as a stop on daily service between Los Angeles and Dallas. The company conducted flights with Curtiss Condor planes featuring 12-passenger sleeper berths on Dallas Love Field - Los Angeles route.

Pioneer Airlines was also serving Abilene Airport from the mid-40s to the mid-50s with direct trips to Houston Hobby Airport, Albuquerque, Fort Worth, Dallas Love Field, Lubbock, Amarillo, and other airfields in New Mexico and Texas with services conducted with Martin 2-0-2 and DC-3 aircraft. Continental Airlines then acquired Pioneer, which continued serving Abilene Airport with the destinations previously served by Pioneer and also launched a new direct service from ABI to San Antonio. By the late 50s, Continental was operating larger aircrafts such as the Convair 440 and Convair 340 twin prop, and a four-engine Vickers Viscount turbo propeller. The Company was flying Viscount propjets daily in 1959 to Albuquerque and Dallas Love Field. Continental finally stopped all services into the airport by 1964. Continental Airlines did not return to the airport.

Trans-Texas Airways was flying Convair 600, Convair 240, and Douglas DC-3 aircraft into Abilene by the mid-60s with service mainly to Dallas Love Field with other destinations in New Mexico and Texas. Trans-Texas Airways later launched first jet aircraft flights with Douglas DC-9-10 in the late 60s. At this same period, Trans-Texas was also conducting nonstops to Lubbock and Austin with nonstop service to Amarillo, Albuquerque, Houston Hobby Airport, Santa Fe, and San Antonio. Most of these trips were made with Convair 600, with few DC-9's offering continuing service through Dallas direct to Houston and Austin. Trans-Texas Airways later changed the name to Texas International, which subsequently proceeded to serve Abilene Airport with Convair 600 and Douglas DC-9 aircraft. Texas International served Lubbock and Amarillo from through Abilene as well as operating DC-9 jets to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Dallas Love Field. By 1970, Texas International was making four trips a day to Dallas, two of which were carried by DC-9 jets. In 1976, the airport offered a sort of international service as Texas International launched direct DC-9 flights to Mexico City for four days a week with stops in Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. The Official Airline Guide lists DC-9 flights performed by Texas International from Laredo, McAllen, Austin, San Antonio, and San Angelo with the service from Dallas/Fort Worth. Texas International was running four nonstop DC-9 jet trips a day by 1979, from San Antonio to Abilene Regional Airport in addition to having uninterrupted flights four times a day to Dallas/Ft. Worth. However, TI ceased all flights into Abilene after the merging of Continental Airlines and Texas International, so the airport lost its single jet service in the early 80s.

Jet service came back in 1984 when Frontier Airlines launched direct flights to Denver with an in-between stop in Midland with Boeing 737-200 jets. Nevertheless, Frontier stopped serving Abilene by the spring of 1985, and the airport lost jet service once again. Regular jet flights would not return until American Eagle introduced Embraer ERJ-145 and Embraer ERJ-140 regional jets.

Facilities and Aircraft

Abilene Regional Airport sits on 1,644 acres with three asphalt runways: 4/22, 17L/35R, and 17R/35L. In June 1952, the airfield had four runway tracks.

Recent developments include the restoration of ramps near the airport terminal and an improved public parking lot. The new parking lot featured 731 sheltered parking areas and escalator passage to the upper levels.

Airport's new 130-foot-tall control tower was constructed in January 2012, replacing an old 65-foot tower.

The airport had 214 aircraft operations per day in 2006, averaging 78,462 in a year, out of which 50% was general aviation, 32% was military, 18% air taxi, and less than 1% was scheduled commercial flights.