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Airfares continue to drop at McGhee Tyson

10:01 PM, May 15, 2012   |    comments
  • BTS reports Knoxville fares during the 4th quarter of 2011 dropped from the previous year.
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New numbers from the Bureau of Transportation report McGhee Tyson Airport is bucking national airfare trends.

Nationally, U.S. average domestic fares increased 10 percent during the 4th quarter of 2011. During that same time, fares at McGhee Tyson dropped 0.6 percent.

Those numbers dropped McGhee Tyson down to number 12 on the list of the most expensive airports in the U.S. 

In recent years, the airport has ranked as high as number 2 for most expensive airfare.

Jim Evans, Vice President of Marketing and Air Service Development for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, attributes the drop to the arrival of a low-fare carrier last summer.

"Ever since the arrival of Frontier Airlines here at McGhee Tyson last June, all of our fares have been trending downward. It's a great example of what happens when a large low-fare airline comes into a high fare airport," he said.

It is a trend MKAA hopes will continue.

"We have complete reason to believe that fares will continue downward going forward, as long as Frontier is successful here and as long as the other carriers continue to match their fares," he said.

In an effort to drop prices even more, airport officials continue working to attract other low-fare carriers, like Southwest Airlines. Evans says, it is a slow process.

"You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run," he said.

"I think we're up to the point where we're making significant progress, and that's been reflected in the government numbers that show our fares going down."

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