GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — Just when things were really starting to take off at Gulf Shores International Airport, a delay. “Just within a couple of three months before we were ready to go we got the announcement the airline was pulling back 15 percent of its routes along with every other airline in America,” said airport director Scott Fuller.
Along with skyrocketing jet fuel prices and pilot shortages, one of the biggest challenges in landing an airline service in Gulf Shores is the lack of a terminal. Plans on that front are still moving forward according to Fuller. “We are still doing the temporary. The agreement we have with TBI is to have that facility up and operational March 1st regardless of whether we have an airline or not.”
Fuller says he has three airlines lined up to provide service, one of them has not gone public yet, the other two Elite and Sun Country. “We’ve just gone over the eight million visitor mark which basically makes us the largest tourist destination in America without air service. So, there is a big demand. The big obstacle is we don’t have a terminal so, we are going to take care of that.”
The earliest air service could start would be in the Spring of 2023. Fuller says it’s not “if” airlines will add Gulf Shores as a destination, it is a matter of when.