SECOND THOUGHTS: Big expansion plans need thought in face of loss of flights and traffic.
The long-expected news that Southwest Airlines
would trim flights at Little Rock's Clinton National Airport
with expiration of the law limiting its flights in and out of Dallas suggests that the Airport's 2020 Vision Plan,
including a second phase with a new 16-gate concourse on top of the just completed $67 million expansion, might be a bit optimistic.
Passenger loads are already down. They will drop further with reductions by Southwest, the city's biggest carrier. Mid-size airports across the country are facing similar problems because the economy and new methods of doing business (think Internet) have affected travel patterns. Little Rock is barely growing in population.
Little Rock and other Southwest cities are losing flights
(four in Little Rock including the one flight to Houston) because Southwest will be able to add flights from Love Field in Dallas to more distant and populous cities, such as Chicago and New York.
The optimists will say this could all turn around and you have to build well in advance at airports. In casinos, it's called betting on the come.