Texas Oilmen Are Flooding the Harrisburg (PA) Airport

All of a sudden, people who work at Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania are seeing a whole lot more cowboy hats.

The oil business has arrived, and it's coming from Texas.

Statistics show a huge jump in the number of passengers from here over the past year: An increase of 60 percent from Dallas, 44 percent from Houston and 40 percent from Austin.

It's all people from the oil bidness -- drillers and workers and, of course, lobbyists. (Harrisburg is the state's capital.) Airport spokesman Scott Miller tells Hair Balls the facility is closer to the important new Marcellus Shale natural gas field, and that's why it's seeing more Texans.

Not that they stick out, for the most part.

"Every now and then you'll see some big hats," he says. But that's probably a 986 percent increase in Harrisburg cowboy-hat sightings over the previous year.

Harrisburg is served by major airlines like United Continental, Delta and Northwest, but there are no nonstop flights to or from Texas. Most flights involve a stop in Chicago.

While the percentage increases are big, the actual number of Texans are not enough to cause a big overall bump, Miller says, so the airport hasn't had to make any big adjustments.

The number of passengers from Dallas in the last 12 months was 37,390, from Houston 17,240 and from Austin 8,040, according to the Central Penn Business Journal.

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