Flight Changes Affect Tourism
Starting July 8, the Columbia Regional Airport will not be offering flights into St. Louis. Airport officials made the decision based on delays and reliability with the airline, not the number of passengers traveling to St. Louis.
"Officials have been looking at where their passengers are coming from over the past few months and they say that here at the Columbia Regional Airport 50 percent of the passengers come from St. Louis while 50 percent of the passengers come from Kansas City, " said Kathy Frerking, Columbia Regional Airport Manager.
The Council is worried about tourism, but says the changes could affect overall growth.
"This is an area of approximately 300,000 people, mid-Missouri, which Columbia is apart of, and if we don't have a growing state of the art airport that brings people in for tourism and for business then it's going to limit growth of the area," said Norm Benedict of the Mid-Missouri Tourism Council.
Despite the decision to stop flights to St. Louis, airport officials still hope to expand.
"It is difficult trying to solicit the services of other people when the numbers here have been dropping, but at the last airport advisory meeting they recommended that the city council send out requests for interests of other airlines to see if there is interest, and if so what it is we would need to do to bring them here to Columbia Regional, " Frerking said.
Four round trip flights will now service the Kansas City area during the week. Currently, a one-way flight from Columbia to Kansas City is $59.