Change in air service providers could be coming to Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois
MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - Changes could be coming to another Heartland airport.
Cape Air is terminating its contract at Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois to try and account for the financial losses they are seeing.
This does not mean that Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois is going to lose flights in and out of the airport. Cape Air is going to resubmit another proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation looking to keep the same airfare and flight schedules.
This also gives airport leaders a chance to explore other options.
“And so that’s kind of where we are at right now, is just waiting to see who in addition to Cape Air is going to put in a bid for service from our airport.” said Doug Kimmel, airport manager of Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois.
Kimmel said Cape Air is losing money under its contract that was signed back in 2019.
“They still have a year left on their federal subsidy contract with the U.S. Department of Transportation and there’s a clause in that contract that allows them to rebid the contract and try and get those numbers adjusted. They know in doing so that it opens them up for competition, other airlines can submit proposals as well,” Kimmel explained.
Cape Air sent this statement saying, “The recent increases in operating expenses have surpassed Cape Air’s ability to absorb the expenses.”
Andrew Bonney, senior vice president of planning at Cape Air also added, “Cape Air adores serving each of these communities and is eager to propose continued essential air service at economically sustainable rates. Cape Air will ensure continued and uninterrupted EAS under a reselection agreement or will affect an orderly transition when properly relieved by another airline.”
Kimmel said no disruptions in the daily flights will happen. Cape Air is still offering roundtrip flights to and from Nashville and St. Louis.
He said the local community will have an input in the next selected air service.
“We really have had a wonderful relationship for over 10 years with Cape Air. They’re one of the best airlines that we ever worked for, we would like to have options though. So we hope we see other airline proposals just to be in a position to review with members of the community what’s going to best serve the needs here,” he continued.
Currently, Cape Air has six roundtrip flights during the week and three roundtrip flights on the weekends.
Kimmel said he wants to make sure locals have the ability to travel where they need to.
“For the purpose that we need to fulfill for travelers. That is getting people from southern Illinois, from the entire region to a larger airport and to have numerous options to then get to points beyond,” he explained.
Kimmel said the proposals will be sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation by the end of December and, hopefully, by February 2023 they’ll have an answer as to what airline will be flying in and out of the airport in the beginning of 2024.
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