Changes Needed for Airport's Survival

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COLUMBIA- After a consulting group told Columbia Regional Airport it's got some work to do, the airport advisory committee held a meeting Wednesday to see what changes need made. The committee didn't focus on one particular theme, but rather it brainstormed on everything from bigger planes to more University of Missouri travel business, to an additional airline.

The Airport Advisory Committee built the discussion around issues in a report from the Boyd consulting group. The report stated that airports would eventually phase out the 50 seat airplanes used now at Columbia Regional. The committee said it would like to have 70 or 90 seat airplanes at the airport, which might mean getting another carrier.

The report also said that 150,000 passengers need to fly in and out of the airport every year. But Columbia Public Works Director John Glascock said the airport is averaging more like 40,000 passengers a year.

After looking at the Boyd report, City of Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid told the Columbia Daily Tribune the city could lose its airport. Glascock agreed with the mayor that the airport needs changes to insure its long term survival. Glascock said the committee will attempt to add a new destination every year until 2020 to help draw more passengers to the airport. He added that there is no reason the airport can't be the main regional airport for Mid-Missouri.