City of Columbia Avoids Payout for American Airlines

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia announced Monday that it did not have to pay any reimbursement to American Airlines last month through the Air Service Revenue Guarantee Fund.

"We have done a lot of studies that show there is demand for air service and this has proven this out for us. It is great news for us not having to pay money for the service," said Columbia Public Works Director John Glascock.

The agreement is for two years and guarantees the airline will make at least $5,012 for each flight to Dallas and $4,403 for each flight to Chicago. The city pays the difference when the quote is not met.

In the first month of American Airlines flying out of Columbia, the city had to pay the company $22,562 dollars.

"We hope that the second month is what's going to happen. We don't know for sure, but I hope everything stays stable and we anticipate that the zero payment will continue," said Glascock.

Earlier this year Delta Airline stopped flights out of Columbia, and Frontier has announced its last flight in Columbia is May 13, leaving American Airlines as the only company left.

"I am glad that the city has not had to pay and that American Airlines is willing to stay with this arrangement," said Malissa Johnston, a Columbia resident who was at the airport Monday.

"It's really beneficial for Columbia to have a regional airport. It's good for business, people coming in and also for athletes on campus, who live far away from their family and for recruits to come here easily," said Johnston.

American Airlines provides two daily nonstop flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and one daily nonstop flight to Chicago O'Hare from Columbia Regional Airport.