PHF Pleads for More Seats for Holiday Travel
Newport News-Williamsburg Airport is working hard to secure additional commercial flight service for members of the military as the holidays approach. During a typical holiday, about 400 service-members fly out of Newport News-Williamsburg, but airlines have suspended or reduced service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This leaves approximately 300 available seats.
The holiday season tends to see increased demand in air travel, but this holiday season is already proving to be a challenge for the airport, which is known as PHF by its International Air Transport Association code.
"We need more seats to accommodate our soldiers,” said Jenifer Spratley, airport marketing director. "We're just underserved, we're an underserved airport and our soldiers are being underserved during this holiday season." The 400 service-members are “a huge chunk of our travel,” Spratley said.
"We did reach out to American Airlines and Delta to share that information with them to stress how important it is for our soldiers to get home,” Spratley said.
Both airlines have a presence at the airport, but American Airlines is the only airline providing scheduled service. Delta suspended its service due to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
American Airlines, in a statement, said, "At this time, we don’t have plans for additional service, but we’re always evaluating our network based on supply and demand."
In a statement from Delta, the airline said, "We are continuously monitoring demand trends and rebuilding our network as demand resumes.”
Spratley said, “They have to go home, and they'll find a way to go home. We'd like to have more seats flying out of PHF so that we can accommodate their needs…."