COLUMBIA - 38,000 passengers flew through Columbia Regional Airport in 2011. In that same time, 85% of seats on Delta Airlines flights using Columbia Regional Airport were sold. As of late, the city's Public Information Specialist feels a larger airport could increase the number of people traveling through this airport and ultimately make the city more money.
Jill Stedem says "the airport has a catchment (potential flyers) of 444,000. Meaning we only use 7% of that catchmet because we lose flyers to St. Louis and Kansas City." She hopes making a larger terminal, better runways, and accomodate larger planes with funds from taxes.
Toni Messina, Communication Director of Columbia, says the City Council will review the proposal to increase the motel and hotel bed tax from 4% up to potentially 7% Tuesday night.
While the Council argues the potential tax increase, the Columbia Regional Airport sits quietly off 63 South. Quiet enough, that the hustle and bustle of busy airports will not scare away frequent flyers. Frequent Flyers such as Jefferson City Resident Bruce Braidermen.
Braidermen finds himself using Columbia Regional Airport more frequently than ever before. "I'd say I used this airport only once or twice 15 years ago, but now I always use this airport" says Braidermen. Braidermen says larger airports such as St. Louis airport are over crowded and with tightening security, checking in takes much longer.
The Columbia Regional Airport accommodates travelers who do not enjoy large crowds. However, if the airport gets additional tax funds, then that convinent airport status could change. "Until this airport becomes over crowded then why make it bigger?" asks Braidermen.
The city council has to vote on increasing the bed tax before the additional revenues could be used to improve the airport.