Easterwood Field (CLL) does not generate any significant volume of intra-Texas traffic. The vast and I do mean vast majority of people cacthing American eagle...Continental Express et al flights are going someplace far away.
The last data I can get my hands on suggested that the "BIG" market out of CLL was Dallas/Ft Worth at 57 passengers per day and an average one way fare of $121. Houston (IAH) traffic did not even meet the 10 passengers per day threshhold to get it listed.
That would be my experience of roughly 22 years ago.....and my dad's experience of 42 years ago. The Dallas market has gotten bigger, due primarily to the growth of the BCS metro area, but 57 pax per day is nothing to really brag about.
The other markets within the state...Houston, Austin, and San Antonio are far too close. I've done CLL-HOU in a Beech 1900 in, oh, I guess it was 1986 or 1987. Gate-to-gate was 30 minutes or so. Add in: drive to airport, security, flight check in, wait on plane, fly, get off plane, arrange ground transportation or shlep off to the parking lot to retrieve your car, and the drive from the airport to your car....well, you sure as heck haven't saved any time. You've invested 2 1/2, maybe 3 hours in something you can drive in an hour and a half.
Can't save money either. I am guessing here but I would suggest that a commuter carrier as you desrcibe is going to end up with an ASM cost of somewhere in the vicinity of 30 cents a seat mile. Let's try to set our fare where we can break even with about a 50% load factor. That would mean our average revenue per passenger needs to be about $54 between HOI & CLL. With me so far? That's $54, no we need to add the excise tax (around $8) security fee ($5) and leg tax ($2.50) oh and let us not forget the city airport tax ($3). So the "average" fare needs to come in at $72.50.
Friend, you are not going to be able to give too many seats away at a weekend leisure travel rate of $39 because you are not going to be able to squeeze many folks for much more than $72.
In fact, I don't know many folks willing to cough up $39 for a 90 mile ride when decent highways with semi-frequent Dairy Queens are a viable alternative.
And that's the biggest problem you have with the next tier of cities in Texas....the Abilenes, San Angelos, Tylers, Longviews, Laredos, and Beaumonts......had highways been just a little less good than they are, those cities might have ended up with Southwest back when Southwest was confined inside the borders as an intrastate. But the highways in Texas are good, and the local traffic will flow along the highways if (a) the distance and time is not too onerous and (b) cost of any sort of airline travel is prohibitive.
Once upon a time the local service airlines (Trans Texas Airways) did carry, at least proportionately, a larger amount of local traffic in and out of the smaller cities and towns in Texas. (Heck, at one time Brownwood, Alice, Beeville, Ft Stockton, Marfa, Pecos, Mineral Wells, Sweetwater, Plainview, Big Spring, Lufkin, Palestine, and Paris boasted airline service). The local service airlines received a subsidy to provide service to these towns. DC3s were cheap to acquire and gasoline was a dime a gallon. Airline Station Agents got paid $160 a month. The fares, which were regulated, were kept artificially low on short hauls but artificially high on long hauls. (Anything and everything was mileage based). So fares were cheaper, roads were crummier, cars weren't as fast, and it was still a big deal to go out to Brownwood and climb on the airliner which would whick you away to your aunt and uncle's house in New Mexico....a great big DC3 which stopped at San Angelo, Big Spring, Midland-Odessa, Hobbs, and carlsbad before depositing you in Roswell.
But alas things have changed a lot since the 1950s....or the 1970s. Fuel is not a dime a gallon anymore. Airline employees take umbrage to being paid less than minimum wage
. The bottom line is your idea, while neat in theory, would not work in practice. And it's a shame.
If A&M/Bryan-College Station were located 180 miles in the othe direction (assuming we could do something with Oklahoma...come to think of it, we did).....then you would probably would have seen the ugly planes there and we wouldn;t be having this conversation. But the proximity to the major metro areas kills local traffic, extreme short hauls are ridiculously expensive to provide, so I guess you are faced with having to continue planting your butt in the seat of your vehicle and hauling it via Caldwell & Dime Box.
Hope that answered some of your questions. If not my e mail is Hearnehorn@hotmail.com