Envoy Air is cutting its daily trips in and out of Gregg County for a 12-day period next month.
The changes are seasonal and are not a permanent reduction in commercial flights at the East Texas Regional Airport, Director Roy Miller said, because the airport logged a 30% increase in commercial passengers last month.
Still, the changes “are somewhat confusing,” Miller said. “It’s systemwide. We’re not the only market that this happens in.”
Last year, Envoy Air — a subsidiary of American Airlines — added a third daily flight between Gregg County and the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
On weekdays, Envoy Air has a morning departure from Gregg County to Dallas-Fort Worth, then has midday and evening flights and a 9:51 p.m. arrival. No evening flights are scheduled on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and a midday arrival and departure on Saturdays is the only weekend flight.
However, starting Nov. 21, the Dallas-based airline will cut its weekday morning arrival flight and nighttime departure flight at East Texas Regional Airport, according to the airline’s updated schedule.
Also, no flights are planned to Gregg County on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.
The third daily weekday flight returns Dec. 4 with regular arrival and departure times.
The next measurable change occurs Dec. 18, when the morning flight will arrive at Gregg County at about 6 a.m. — more than a half-hour earlier.
Also, the nighttime flight starting Dec. 18 will arrive about 100 minutes later, from the current 9:51 p.m. to 11:33 p.m.
The schedule changes are generated by Envoy Air computer programs, which are designed to maximize efficiency in the airline’s flights, Miller said. The system is meant to better fit the airline’s connections or accommodate shortages in planes or pilots.
Schedules “can vary a few minutes up to nearly an hour, and we never know until they publish those schedules,” Miller said, adding that Envoy Air makes seasonal changes during winter months because of changing weather conditions.
“It’s an interesting business,” he said.
In the past year, Envoy Air has reported a 17.7% increase from the previous year’s number of passengers on flights to and from East Texas Regional Airport. That includes a 30% increase for the month of September, Miller said, adding that he’s talked with airline executives about having stability in their flight schedules so that people can plan their trips.
He encouraged passengers to continue to use the airport and to provide their phone number when making reservations.
“If there’s a last-minute change, they will call you,” Miller said. “Also, have some patience.”