U.S. Airways Takes Off from Columbia
David Maxwell flies in and out of Columbia Regional Airport a few times each year.
"The ones that were flying in and out were certainly dependable," he said, "but they were a little cramped on space from time to time."
The U.S. Department of Transportation chose U.S. Airways Express to provide flights at Columbia Regional Airport after American Connection discontinued service. The federal government will subsidize flights for the next two years through its Essential Air Service program.
"We're thrilled to have a couple of changes with service," said Kathy Frerking, airport manager. "For one, for the first time in many years, we now have flights to both Kansas City and St. Louis, so that opens up a whole new avenue of travel."
The airport welcomed the new airline at an open house Thursday where the public toured one of the fleet's Beechcraft 1900-D turbo-props.
"It's an updated version of aircraft," said Maxwell. "It's pretty well-maintained. They're certainly comfortable, have the leg room, and I think it will be a very serviceable aircraft."
The planes don't have bathrooms or in-flight service. A one-way ticket for the 45-minute flight to St. Louis or Kansas City costs $59, which you can buy the day of your flight.