Lou Svetlik walks around one of his planes in a hangar at the Victoria Regional Airport. Svetlik is responsible for maintenance and repairs of several different business and private planes at the airport. In addition, he flies to people needing repairs who are trying to fly home to Victoria.
Victoria Regional Airport is in a holding pattern as it works on updating its 20-year master plan.
The plan includes infrastructure improvements to runways and sewer system.
In addition to adding a flight to Del Rio, flights to Dallas will be re-instated, said Fred Watts, Victoria Regional Airport's manager.
Overall, the number of passengers boarding planes at Victoria Regional Airport in 2016 is roughly at the same level as 2015.
"Enplanements are relatively flat this year," Watts said.
Since Jan. 1, Victoria Regional has seen 2,067 passengers board planes, he added.
In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration recorded 3,584 passengers boarding planes at Victoria Regional Airport.
To keep federal funding, an airport must have at least 10 enplanements a day.
"Victoria Regional Airport is a diamond in the rough," said Lou Svetlik, a general aviation pilot and owner of Center Line Aero, an airplane repair shop. "It offers so much in terms of economic activity to the region."
Svetlik cited the military's use of the airport along with corporations and private individuals as proof of the airport's potential to be a driver of economic growth for Victoria.
The general aviation community has some ideas to improve on the economic activity of the airport, Svetlik, said.
Svetlik declined to disclose his ideas out of deference to the airport commission. But he said the ideas are focused on the "base" - the general aviation community that uses the airport the most.
"A well-run airport is a symbol of a growing community's economic strength," Svetlik said. "There are communities with airports that we can follow to improve Victoria Regional Airport."
Svetlik cited the airports of College Station, Brenham and San Marcos as examples.
"Overall, the airport is making progress," Watts said. "We're moving forward with an update to the airport's master plan."
Texas A&M University's Texas Transportation Institute is forming the airport's master plan.
Watts estimated the master plan would be submitted to Victoria County Commissioners in the fall.
Airport staff is also waiting on Texas Sky Airlines to finalize schedules for Del Rio and Dallas, Watts said.
Texas Sky currently offers flights to Houston and Austin.
"We're working hard with them to provide enhanced air commercial service to the community," Watts said.
IF YOU GO
COST: $80 is the average price per passenger
BAGGAGE: 1st bag up to 30 pounds free; 2nd bag up to 30 pounds $25, fees may vary
• Victoria to Austin:
Monday to Sunday:
Departure 7:20 a.m.
Arrival 8 a.m.
• Austin to Victoria:
Monday to Sunday
Departure: 12:30 p.m.
Arrival 1:10 p.m.
• Victoria to Houston Bush Intercontinental:
Monday to Sunday
Departure 1:30 p.m.
Arrival 2:15 p.m.
• Houston to Victoria:
Monday to Sunday
Departure 5 p.m.
Arrival 5:45 p.m.
• Texas Sky said its schedule occasionally changes. For the most updated date specific schedules, visit texassky.com.
SOURCE: Texas Sky Airlines
Story and photo gallery: https://www.victoriaadvocate.com