MCALLEN, Texas – There are positive growth trends at McAllen International Airport, according to City of McAllen Aviation Director Elizabeth Suarez.

“We continue to report positive growth trends for this year. Our first slide shows a three percent overall growth from last year. The more important news is load factors are up approximately six percent. This is despite market seats being down slightly about four percent,” Suarez said, in her monthly power point presentation to the McAllen Economic Development Corporation’s board of directors.

“The next slide shows month to month activity. We continue to outperform 2019, which is a good baseline for us, again, reminding everybody that that yellow line, 2021, is an outlier right after pandemic travel had really ramped up.”

Suarez said McAllen International Airport is outperforming last year by about three percent. 

“The next slide shows what market share looks like at MFE. We’re about a 48 percent American Airlines market. That’s followed by United Airlines. They capture 33 percent of the market share. Allegiant is capturing about 17 percent and Aeromar about two percent,” Suarez reported.

“When we look at the overall region, McAllen is capturing 45 percent of market share. That’s followed by Harlingen at 43 percent and Brownsville at 12 percent. The next slide shows the month-to-month performance in the region. Again, we continue to show only through September, but positive growth trends overall for McAllen.”

Suarez asked if there were any questions from the MEDC board of directors. One director asked: “With the extension of the runway in Harlingen, how do you think that is going to impact y’alls numbers going forward?”

Suarez responded: “I don’t think there is an immediate impact to us. We are at about 60 percent of our capacity on our existing runways. But, our airport continues to really look at how do we continue to plan for that second runway. It’s important for us and the extension as well. We have a long enough runway to accommodate the narrow bodied aircraft that we’re seeing trending in the industry. Typically, the 319 and 320 is what most of the airlines are moving towards.”

Speaking of Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Marv Esterly, VIA’s aviation director, recently commented on the runway expansion project at his airport.

“We received all the funding we need to get this project going,” Esterly told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service. “The runway extension will add 1,100 feet to the longest runway in the Rio Grande Valley. It will support our air cargo operations, particularly our wide-bodied 767 traffic with FedEx and DHL. We’re also seeing some U.S. government charter flights.”

Editor’s Note: Here is an audio recording of Suarez’s November report to McAllen EDC:


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