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Lawton airport among those struggling

Lawton_Big problems for the airlines these days could mean big problems for local airports. As airlines are affected by sky-high fuel prices, they are cutting flights in big cities, and now they are doing it in smaller ones. Starting in September, both American and Delta Airlines are cutting flights out of their schedule at the Lawton-Ft. Sill Regional Airport.

The rising gas prices are forcing airline carriers across the nation to stack on new fees, lay off workers and cut flights. The American picture is a bit different in that although there will be fewer flights, their will be more allowed to ride on each flight. Lawton's airport manager, Barbara McNally, says that American Eagle is going to be changing out their aircraft. "They're going to be retiring their 34-seat SAAB, and they are bringing in 66-seat aircraft. And what that means for us is even though we may have a few less flights to Dallas, we'll have a lot more seats to Dallas."

That will be better for American Airlines with the high price of fuel, and McNally says it is good for Lawton-Ft. Sill because it means the airline is committed to our airport.

She stresses that it is different with Delta - the airline just returning service to Lawton-Ft. Sill this year after terminating it in 2001. "It is my understanding that they're going to take the days that are slow travel days, and take those out of the market," she says.

Although Delta will not replace its current aircraft with bigger planes, McNally says not to worry. Delta is just tweaking its schedule to accommodate what Lawton passengers need. "They're doing really well in the market. They're real pleased to be there so I don't think this is... this might be a little bit of the fuel cost issue but it also has a little bit with new service, new schedules, trying to see what days are heavier days, what days are lighter days," she says.

The Oklahoma City Will Rogers Airport will be losing "express jet" which is going out of business and pulling flights out of OKC on August 22. U.S. Airways will no longer serve Oklahoma City as of September 2008.

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