Airport receives marketing funds

BROWNSVILLE — The Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport will use a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to market United Airlines service to Chicago and Houston with the intention of enhancing that service.

The airport applied for the highly competitive Small Community Air Service Development Program grant in March. U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela’s office announced the award Tuesday.

The grant is being partially matched by the airport, the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corp. and South Padre Island. The match is a fraction of the $250,000, but still “enough for the DOT to see a local investment,” airport Director Bryant Walker said.

The idea is that United will enhance service — either by bringing in larger aircraft and/or increasing the frequency of flights — in return for someone else covering the marketing costs, he said.

Walker said the airport will submit an amendment to its grant application to DOT that, if granted, will allow the money also to be used to market United’s Chicago service, which the airline instituted after the airport applied for the grant. The money will be used for radio ads, billboards, web banners and the like, he said.

“DOT thinks Brownsville is a very good investment,” Walker said.