MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- The Mobile Airport Authority is another step closer to relocating passenger air service from West Mobile to downtown.

It comes after the FAA approved the airport’s master plan.

The hope is after the move airfares will get lower.

Currently, the price to fly from Mobile can be a costly one compared to Pensacola or Gulfport.

“It can be a difference of maybe 10 or 15 dollars or sometimes $90 per person,” said Mari Muscat, Operations Manager at Travel Leaders Vacation Center.

According to federal data released in 2019, Mobile’s average roundtrip airfare: $491. Pensacola: $411. Gulfport: $441.

The difference between Mobile and Pensacola in 2019 about 20%.

“It’s just been a fact of life for travel advisors on the Gulf Coast that you always check all four airports and that’s been for the last couple of decades,” she said.

But there is hope on the horizon. A new 8-gate international terminal at the Mobile Downtown Airport. The airport authority hopes it helps to reduce fares. In the last week, the master plan getting an important thumbs up from the FAA.

“Once we get downtown to make it more competitive because more airlines will come to the downtown airport and the airport is much more accessible,” said Mobile Airport Authority President Chris Curry.

A study found that 55% of people who should use the Mobile airport, do not because of location.

With the master plan now approved by the FAA, Curry says they are closer than ever to getting their new airport.

“This plan of relocating commercial service has been discussed for probably three or four decades,” he said.

Muscat believes a new terminal will be great for Mobile with travel now on the rebound.

“The opportunities are endless and the vision is wide,” she said.

They have to relocate some of the businesses in the area before construction can begin next year.

The terminal is set to open in early 2024.

All content © 2021, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.  

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