Now Departing

Austin airport abruptly grounds low-cost airline

Austin airport abruptly grounds low-cost airline

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport ABIA
Passengers can no longer travel from ABIA on Via Air. Photo courtesy of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

It appears Via Airlines has hit some turbulence. As of May 30, the low-cost airline will no longer be allowed to operate out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

According to a statement from the City of Austin, the Florida-based carrier is abruptly departing "due to failure to meet contact obligations with the City of Austin Department of Aviation."

Via Air, which operates (for the next two days) out of the South Terminal, first flew into town in 2017, specializing in seasonal, smaller market routes. For example, among the nonstop flights it offered from Austin were Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Branson, Missouri; Baton Rouge; and Little Rock. Fares usually hovered between $99- $199 each way.

The trouble seems to have started about a month ago, when Via Airlines announced it was paring back service to multiple destinations, including Austin, due to a "pilot shortage" — a move the airline insisted was temporary.

Over the Memorial Day holiday, however, the airline was booted from multiple airports, including Pittsburgh and Birmingham. In a statement to Birmingham's NBC affiliate WFSA on May 22, the airline continued to blame recruitment as the reason for the departure. The airline has yet to issue a formal statement in regards to the ABIA departure.

As of press time, Via Air is still touting air fare deals from Austin to multiple destinations on its website, but doesn't allow customers to actively book flights.

According to a statement from the city, passengers traveling on Via Air after May 30 can call (407) 499-4992 for accommodations and refunds. Following Via's departure, Austin now has 18 carriers operating out of ABIA.