Merger Brings Possible Flights to Columbia

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COLUMBIA - American Airlines and U.S. Airways finalized their merger Monday. It could mean more flights out of Columbia Regional Airport.

Airport Advisory Board Chair Greg Cecil said he does not yet know how this will affect Columbia, but the possibility of more flights exists.

"We could," Cecil said. "You never know with an airline exactly what's going to happen tomorrow, but U.S. Air flies to Charlotte, so that might be good news for us to get down to SEC country. If there 's a possibility to fly down there at some point in time, that could complement some of our flights to Chicago and Dallas."

The airport will add extra flights to Chicago and Dallas by April. Cecil said plans to expand the airport might attract more fliers, and therefore a need for more flights.

"I think if we get a new terminal and we get our runways extended, then we might have some opportunities," Cecil said. "But we need some other things to happen at the airport."

Talks of a new terminal on the north end of Columbia Regional Airport are in the works, but would not take effect until at least 2018 because Cecil said the city of Columbia does not have enough money to fund the project.

Cecil said the airport is always open to more flight opportunities.

"We would certainly welcome Frontier to come back with a flight to Orlando, or Denver, or wherever they want to take us," Cecil said. "I think that the more air service we have, the better."

Cecil said runway improvements are in place, but it will be a phased in process. Cecil said the construction of a new terminal would be one of the last things the airport improves.

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