Fuel costs rise, airlines cut flights from metro

Wednesday, June 18th 2008, 9:19 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

In an industry that is struggling to stay in the air, high oil prices are causing airlines to cut back on the number of flights they offer. Officials at Will Roger World Airport learned they would lose five direct flights due to the high fuel prices and a weak economy.

"It's bad, with the cut backs and the flights and now they are grounding planes because of the gas situation," said frequent traveler John Kilmurry.

Two airlines recently announced departure flights from Will Rogers with no return plans.

"They were going to discontinue service out of Oklahoma City to the remaining destinations they were serving," said Director of Airports Mark Kranenburg.

This week, Continental Airlines said it would discontinue its two direct flights to Cleveland. Kranenburg said at the end of last year, the airlines' fuel cost was about $90 a barrel.

"As of June 13, it actually went up to $163 when you combine all the refining costs that included," Kranenburg said.

Travel agent Dave Blew is still seeing some bargains, but the price of fuel is burning out many of the deals.

"Some airlines are even parking brand new planes," Blew said. "It is cheaper to leave them parked than to fly it."

Despite recent losses, Will Rogers continues to court the airline industry to provide passengers more carriers and direct flights.

According to the airport director, Will Rogers will experience more cutbacks from other airlines that fly into Oklahoma City.