High passenger use will keep afternoon flights in and out of East Texas Regional Airport on the schedule for the foreseeable future, airport Director Roy Miller said Thursday.

“We’ve kind of got it on a semi-permanent basis,” Miller said of midday service by Envoy Air — a subsidiary of American Airlines — which operates flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. “We’ve seen our passenger numbers go up. Our parking lot is more full than it usually is, so we’re actually making good use of the new schedule.”

The flight schedule now has a jet leaving for DFW at 6:34 a.m. daily and a return flight landing at the Longview airport at 12:23 p.m., reboarding and leaving for DFW. A flight touches down in Longview at 5:43 p.m. and departs at 6:17 p.m., and the last flight of the day lands in Longview at 10:03 p.m. and stays overnight for the 6:34 a.m. departure.

“You can leave in the morning at 6:34 (a.m.), get to Dallas around 7:30 (a.m.) and can catch a flight home at noon,” Miller said. “It’s a really good schedule for us, and I hope the public continues to use it so we can keep it.”

The midday turnaround flight was added during 2018 as a provisional measure in response to increased boardings and deboardings.

“We worked for a couple of years to get that thing on a permanent basis,” he said.

For the year to date, East Texas Regional has logged 23,788 boardings and deboardings. That’s a 22.4 percent increase over this point in 2018. June alone saw a 5.4 percent increase over June 2018, with 4,754 people stepping on or off at the county-owned airport.

Miller said both business and leisure traveling are holding up their ends.

“I think it’s an even mix of our market, of business and leisure,” he said, adding the full parking lot indicates fewer local people are opting to drive to the airport in Irving — and making the 120-mile return drive home after flights back to Texas. “Parking’s free, so that’s a little less they pay to fly out of East Texas Regional.”