Cole County Commission Gives Money to Columbia Regional Airport

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JEFFERSON CITY - Cole County Commissioners agreed on Monday to give one hundred thousand dollars to help airlines at Columbia Regional Airport. The money is part of the "Guarantee Participation Agreement" which helped attract American Airlines flights to Dallas and Chicago. If American Airlines doesn't make an expected profit for a certain month, funds from the agreement will cover any differences.

Columbia Regional Airport Board Member Greg Cecil said the fund also helps ensure that American Airlines meets financial expectations, while providing economic benefits to contributing counties and cities.

"It allows businesses that are in our communities to get access to global market places. It allows businesses from outside out community, we're recruiting and would like to have move into our community, access from across the globe. And then obviously it's a benefit to our citizens to have the ability to have easy access to major hubs like Chicago and Dallas," Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger said.

The fund is worth three million dollars. Columbia contributed more than one million dollars, Boone County and University of Missouri each contributed five hundred thousand dollars, and Jefferson City contributed one hundred thousand dollars.

Although the agreement is set to last for two years, Ellinger said he doubts the City of Columbia will need to use the fund. "The projections show that the service ought to be profitable and we should not have to tap into the funds," Ellinger said.

The new American Airlines flights are scheduled to start on February 14th.