Budget Airlines Making Headway

Officials at the Gulfport Biloxi International airport often tout the fact that they have some of the lowest fares in the region.

There are a number of reasons for that, but what drives the low fares more than anything else is one airline - Air Tran. It is just one of a growing number of low cost airlines popping up around the nation.

Coast travel agency owner Rae Anne Ryan says travelers should be glad Air Tran flies from here.

"It has been very important to us, and has really helped keep the fares low," she said.

As an example, the lowest fare for a trip next spring from Gulfport to Savannah, Georgia would cost 225 dollars. That same fare from Jackson to Savannah, would be 365 dollars. It's much higher from Jackson, because Air Tran doesn't fly out of that city.

"Air Tran drives the prices here to anywhere that Air Tran goes," Ryan added. "When you find the prices still high, it is probably because Air Tran doesn't go there and doesn't compete."

Since Air Tran flies many of the same routes as Delta, that airline giant has to match those low fares. The bottom line is, it's you the consumer reaping the benefits.

Ryan says the budget carriers are good at keeping things simple. She adds, if fares go way up at Gulfport-Biloxi, it will be because Air Tran leaves the market. Ryan says that she, along with many budget conscious travelers, hope that doesn't happen.