Columbia airport has best month ever, but missing big revenue opportunity

1 year 11 months 2 weeks ago Tuesday, October 31 2017 Oct 31, 2017 Tuesday, October 31, 2017 6:36:00 PM CDT October 31, 2017 in News
By: James Packard, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The Columbia Regional Airport had its best month ever in September, breaking its previous passenger-load record by 39 percent. 

According to airport data, the number of times someone got on or off a plane at COU hit 17,720 in September. The airport's previous record for one month was 12,711, in October of 2016.

This month's numbers should be available in the coming weeks. October is historically a good time for the airport. 

Greg Cecil, who sits on the airport advisory board, said new flights and more destinations are part of the equation for a successful airport, but so is a growing population in Columbia and Jefferson City.

"Just those folks in Columbia plus the surrounding communities are growing," Cecil said. "So there's a lot more opportunity for us to pick up customers from those areas."

United Airlines started flying to Denver and Chicago in August, marking one of few times in the airport's history when it has had more than one airline. 

"We've got lots of flights now so that really helps the numbers," Cecil said.

The airport is getting closer to finishing a runway expansion that will make operating passenger planes easier, opening the door to a terminal expansion.

But potential groundbreaking is still years off, and the airport needs more money before a new terminal can happen.

"Basically, we're looking at maybe five years unless we can expedite things, um, because we have to get all the funding in place and we haven't received the OK on the federal funding yet," Cecil said. 

He said the airport doesn't have much residual funding to help.

"Most of the fees that are generated by airports, between 40 and 60 percent of that revenue comes from parking," Cecil said. "And so our parking is free."

That presents a catch 22 for the airport: Cecil said free parking is an attractive reason for mid-Missourians to fly through the Columbia Regional Airport, but the airport misses a huge revenue opportunity by not charging. If it wants to make money by charging for parking, it runs the risk of deterring passengers. 

"The good thing about Columbia Regional Airport is free parking. The bad thing about Columbia Regional Airport is, we don't, you know, is free parking because we don't have any money," Cecil said.

Nonetheless, the airport is seeing sustained growth like it has never seen before. Cecil said he's optimistic that growth will stick around while airport leadership plans a new terminal.

"You know, our numbers are growing" he said. "The other day, when I flew, I usually know a number of people in the terminal and I only saw one person out of like, approximately 200 people so, you know, our base of support is expanding."

More News

Grid
List
MARSHALL - The suspect in a pair of shootings in early October has been caught out of state, police announced... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 9:10:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - A man heard his sentence on Friday after killing a 20-year-old three years ago for drunk driving. ... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 6:06:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA —The University of Missouri issued a statement Friday that the MU Department of Theatre was "in error" when it... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:52:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Friday Night Fever’s Week 8 Game of the Week features a dominant Helias (6-1) visited by a surging... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:44:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA — The True False Film Festival and Ragtag Cinema are dissolving their relationship with Columbia church The Crossing. Cinema... More >>
6 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 5:33:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Springfield Mayor Ken McClure hosted a group for a strategy session that included Governor Mike Parson in October.... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 4:18:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY - The extent of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' leg injury sustained during the team's Thursday night... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 3:07:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Sports
JEFFERSON CITY - A damaged downtown Jefferson City building is scheduled for demolition, but the owners have filed an appeal... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 2:26:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A drug company's decision is causing new worries for the families of children with cancer. Vincristine, a... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 1:55:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Police investigated a threat at Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Friday. TJMS sent out... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 1:27:00 PM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A woman is dead after a car crash on Highway 63 in Columbia on Thursday afternoon. Columbia... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 11:57:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Leaders from several organizations from around Boone County gathered Friday to talk about various county-wide goals. The... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 11:10:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Top Stories
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a triple homicide in a Kansas City neighborhood. Police spokesman... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 11:01:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A man was arrested Thursday evening after police found dangerous drugs during a routine traffic stop. The arrest... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 4:29:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The fifth annual Project Homeless Connect begins Friday. The event provides support for those experiencing homelessness,... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 3:23:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Sixteen Columbians will travel to Columbia's Japanese sister city, Hakusan City, to reaffirm the relationship between the two... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, October 18 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Friday, October 18, 2019 2:29:00 AM CDT October 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — After a controversial sermon at The Crossing on Sunday, the LGBTQ community is calling for those involved to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, October 17 2019 Oct 17, 2019 Thursday, October 17, 2019 7:41:00 PM CDT October 17, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
1am 53°
2am 52°
3am 51°
4am 50°