Columbia Regional Airport reaches passenger record
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Regional Airport (COU) announced today it recorded the highest number of monthly passengers in October 2015 since opening in 1968.
More than 12,000 passengers used COU in the month of October, and the airport has not had so many passengers in its 47 years of operation.
Airport Manager Don Elliott thinks the record has been a long time coming and said the increase in passengers is because of flights to Chicago and Dallas, as well as the focus on customer satisfaction and the small town feel.
He said the airport is not big and impersonal, and employees help passengers in anyway they can.
"If they have a flat tire, we are going to air it up," Elliott said. "If their battery is dead, we are going to help them get a jump start. We won't leave our passengers stranded."
The airport flies to Dallas, Chicago and Fort Worth daily and plans to fly over 62,000 passengers out of Columbia in 2015. The only airline currently operating at COU is American Airlines.
Marketing Specialist with the City of Columbia Teresa White said flights to the two central airports and improvements to the snack bar and an additional bathroom have helped improve customer satisfaction.
"We have direct connections to two of the largest airport hubs in the United States," White said. "With three direct flights to Chicago and two to Dallas every day, it really meets the needs of a lot of travelers around the area."
Passenger Paula Phillips said flying with one airline is well worth the convenience and decreased travel time. Although COU does not have restaurants or shops like larger airports, she said the free parking and internet access cover everything she needs at an airport.
"I'm very happy to be flying out of here instead of driving to either Saint Louis or Kansas City," Phillips said.
COU expects to fly out 62,000 passengers in 2015, almost 10,000 more than 2014.