McAllen Airport Sees Increase in Flights from Mexican Tourist

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Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 10:49am

MCALLEN - With an increase in violence along the border, many people coming to and from Mexico are looking for a safer way to travel, and they are looking towards the skies.

McAllen Miller International Airport has definitely seen the difference over the past few months in their number of flights. They said the violence in Mexico is unfortunate, but even if for the wrong reasons, business is booming.

"Our general aviation ridership has really gone through the roof. I mean we are up to a little over 2,000 a month right now, and it's just been in the last few months," said Phil Brown, McAllen Miller International Airport Director of Aviation.

McAllen Airport has also created a partnership with an airtaxi company called GID Express. An airtaxi service is much like a regular motor vehicle taxi. It is a more direct type of transportation compared to regular commercial flights.

"We're an airtaxi service that transfers people from Mexico into the border cities, mainly McAllen. We service Tampico, Victoria, Poza Rica, and Monterrey," said Francisco Garcia, GID Express Operations Manager.

The airtaxi company uses smaller planes and normally only flies about 12 to 13 people each take off. Security for the planes is also different.

"As an airtaxi the operator is responsible for security, in other words he's responsible to make sure that no one gets on that aircraft that should not get on that aircraft. They do go through Customs just like anyone else that would fly internationally into McAllen," said Brown.

Airtaxi's don't have a set flight schedule, meaning people can't just go online and look for the next flight. To travel by airtaxi, people must call ahead and set up their own departure and arrival details with the GID Express Coordinator. It might take a little more effort, but passenger are glad to avoid the border roads.

"As far as families and stuff over the Christmas season yes, I mean it's not safe, the roads are not safe in Mexico so you know people are not as willing to drive or ride a bus as they used to," said Garcia.

GID Express says most flights range from $250 to $400. To find out more information, visit their website at www.gidexpress.com

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