Columbia Regional Airport Debuts New Chicago Flight

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COLUMBIA - American Airlines debuted its new commercial flight from Columbia Regional Airport to Chicago O'Hare Wednesday morning.

The additional flight to Chicago, which departs at 6 a.m. every morning, was added to give passengers a chance to reach their destination earlier in the morning. This makes four daily departures offered by Columbia Regional Airport. Prior to Wednesday, the airport only offered one flight to Chicago in the early afternoon and two flights into the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Some passengers say a flight from Columbia Regional Airport makes traveling a lot easier. Mary Anne Young, a Jefferson City resident, said her son only paid $30 more for a flight into Columbia than into St. Louis. 

"It was a very pleasant surprise that we were able to come get him here instead of that longer drive or him having to take another hop from St. Louis, so this is great," said Young. 

American Airlines began providing service to Columbia Regional Airport in February 2013 in part due to a two-year, $3 million revenue guarantee. The guarantee means if the airport doesn't fill enough seats on American Airline's planes, Columbia, Boone County, MU, Cole County, Jefferson City and a small group of investors must pay up from the revenue fund. This has only happened once since American Airlines' service started, in the first weeks.

This morning's maiden flight to Chicago O'Hare departed with a full passenger load. The flight arrives in Chicago at 7:05 a.m. There are two return flights to Columbia at 11:30 a.m. and 6:35 p.m.

Columbia Public Works officials hope the new flight will attract more business travelers and the early time will give passengers more opportunities for connecting flights.