Special Council Meeting Provides First Step for Airport Expansion

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COLUMBIA — The Columbia City Council will have a special meeting at 5 p.m. Friday to begin the process of moving forward with the proposed additions to the Columbia Regional Airport. 

Mayor Bob McDavid and City Manager Mike Matthes announced Thursday there will be American Airlines flights to Dallas and Chicago added to the airport's schedule. 

McDavid said he expects Friday's meeting to be brief, with just an introduction, and first reading of each proposed ordinance, with no time for public comment. McDavid said the council will have a public hearing regarding the proposed additions at Monday's regularly scheduled city council meeting. 

An additional public hearing followed by a council debate, and vote will take place at another special city council meeting Monday, October 22 at 8 a.m.

McDavid said he has received significant support from the community following the announcement. 

"A lot of people are excited about the promise of more robust air service in and out of Columbia," McDavid said. "I think there is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm throughout the community and I expect that to be reflect in the council's opinion also."

If the agreement is approved McDavid said the airport will require a terminal expansion to accommodate the additional service. This rennonvation project will take large amounts of time and money.

"You can't build a terminal in a matter of months, " McDavid said. "It requires getting substantial amounts of funding. It's a multi-year process but something that has to be done as fast as we can, and we'll be on that quickly."

American Airlines will add two daily flights to Dallas, and one to Chicago. Each plane will have fifty seats available for purchase.