The City of Columbia announced on Thursday that January revenue for Columbia Regional Airport meant American Airlines would not require payment from the Air Service Revenue Guarantee fund for the eleventh month in a row.
Public Information Specialist for Columbia Public Works, Steven Sapp, said the city continues to be extremely pleased with the passenger count and pre-bookings for flights out of Columbia Regional Airport.
“Since we brought American Airlines in, in February of 2013, we have seen our monthly passenger totals continue to rise,” he said. “We believe we may be on track to exceed 100,000 passengers through Columbia Regional Airport in 2014.”
2013 figures show almost 87,000 people flew in or out of Columbia via the regional airport during the twelve-month period. Sapp says a second daily flight between Columbia and Chicago starting in April will help Columbia Regional Airport reach the 100,000 passenger goal.
Two weeks after the arrangement was made in February 2013, the Air Service Revenue Guarantee fund paid a total of $22,562 to American Airlines. No additional payments have been required since.
Revenue benchmarks vary for each month depending on the number of flights and total seats. Sapp said he was pretty comfortable that the city won’t need to tap into the fund.
Web and Communications Manager at the Columbia Conventions and Visitor’s Bureau Megan McConachie said January numbers, which showed more than 6,500 passengers flew in or out of the regional airport, were great for what is traditionally a quieter month for city tourism.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to hear that, especially because it’s, you know, building on a trend of eleven months in a row,” she said.
“It really means that air service in Columbia is on an up-swing and they’ve been really successful since the American flights to Chicago and Dallas started.”
McConachie said the airport did an outstanding job during recent poor weather.
“They didn’t have any delays or cancellations, so they did a fantastic job of keeping on track while a lot of other things were shutting down,” she said.
American Airlines spokesperson Matt Miller agreed.
“American remains very pleased with our service at Columbia Regional Airport and the tremendous support that we have received from the mid-Missouri community,” he said.
He said a large part of the reason a new daily Columbia-Chicago will be introduced is due to that support.
The airport will expand on its current two daily nonstop flights to Dallas Fort Worth and one daily nonstop flight to Chicago O’Hare on April 2.