American Airlines Official Visits Harlingen

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American Airlines Official Visits Harlingen

American Airlines representative Dale Morris sits with VIA Director Marv Esterly during a lunch with Harlingen officials and business leaders.
American Airlines representative Dale Morris sits with VIA Director Marv Esterly during a lunch with Harlingen officials and business leaders.

As American Airlines prepares to begin daily service to Dallas-Fort Worth to and from Valley International Airport in March, airline representative Dale Morris made a visit to Harlingen last week to meet with city officials and business leaders, as well as take a tour of the airport.

Dale Morris, senior consultant for special projects and government affairs for American, met with community leaders for lunch at Frankie Flav’z before heading to the airport. “We are excited to be back in Harlingen,” Morris said. “The advance bookings look great.”

American had flown into VIA before, but stopped the Harlingen service after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

With American’s return, the Harlingen airport is host to six airlines. Frontier and American are the newest additions to join Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Sun Country Airlines. American received an incentive of $834,000 to finalize the deal.

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell (center) lifts a glass with others to toast American Airlines official Dale Morris.
Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell (center) lifts a glass with others to toast American Airlines official Dale Morris.

After lunch, Morris toured the airport, where major improvements are nearing completion, and to see the gate and counter areas from which American will operate. A new blue and white terrazzo tile floor is a visible upgrade. There is also the installation of new roof panels that allow more natural light into the terminal.

Runway improvements are also in the works. New behind the scenes air-conditioning and electrical grid upgrades will provide greater energy efficiency.  

Beginning March 3, American will offer three flights a day between Harlingen and the airline’s hub at DFW. From there passengers can connect to destinations around the world. American plans to grow DFW operations from approximately 800 peak daily departures to around 900 by this summer.

At the luncheon, Morris sat across from Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell and next to VIA Aviation Director Marv Esterly, whom Morris has known for many years, dating back to when Esterly was aviation director at the Midland-Odessa airport in West Texas.

George Cox is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years experience as a newspaper writer and editor. A Corpus Christi native, he started his career as a reporter for The Brownsville Herald after graduating from Sam Houston State University with a degree in journalism. He later worked on newspapers in Laredo and Corpus Christi as well as northern California. George returned to the Valley in 1996 as editor of The Brownsville Herald and in 2001 moved to Harlingen as editor of the Valley Morning Star. He also held the position of editor and general manager for the Coastal Current, a weekly entertainment magazine with Valleywide distribution. George retired from full-time journalism in 2015 to work as a freelance writer and legal document editor. He continues to live in Harlingen where he and his wife Katherine co-founded Rio Grande Valley Therapy Pets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the benefits of therapy pets and assisting people and their pets to become registered therapy pet teams.

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