Cape Girardeau's Airport Advisory Board makes airline recommendation
MISSOURI (KFVS) - The Cape Girardeau Airport Advisory Board has unanimously agreed on which airline they would like to bring to the Cape Girardeau Airport.
Members of the board voted in favor of SkyWest Airlines proposal which would be from Cape Girardeau to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
The board heard pitches from five airlines: Air Choice One on July 17; Boutique Air and SkyWest Airlines on July 12; Cape Air on July 13; and Southern Airways Express on July 11.
Airport Advisory Board Vice President Justin Albright said the new airline could bring in more passengers and help Cape Girardeau grow.
"To the business traveler, yes, it could significantly have an impact on, we believe, Cape Girardeau," he said. "People that weren't normally coming here, that see Cape Girardeau as a viable destination for doing business or other things here, so that's definitely a benefit."
Albright went on to talk about what set SkyWest apart from the others.
"It's what people traditionally see as an airliner," he said. "Fifty seats, overhead bins, a flight attendant, lavatory, drinks, service, that kind of thing. And that that's what makes it significantly different than the other bids we saw, which was a nine-seat aircraft."
He said they're talking about looking into expanding the agreement beyond two years.
"We looked at other cities that they've carried service into and they continue to win bids over and over in those cities that they're serving," he continued. "They don't just come into a city two years and then they're gone. They form long-term relations. That was very important for us here. We want a partner that we don't want to have to re-do this every two years."
Airport Advisory Board President Robert Cork also talked about the benefits of flying to Chicago instead of St. Louis.
"If you go to Chicago, United has 600 flights a day where you can literally go anywhere in the world," Cork said. "Where with the other airlines taking us to St. Louis, with the schedule we missed a lot of the early flights that left. St. Louis has around 275 flights."
Cape Air's contract with the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport was set to expire. That's when they started looking at other options.
You can read a summary of the proposals from the airlines here.
The city also surveyed local businesses to get their opinion on what their travel needs include.
Neil Glass flew out of the Cape Airport on Friday, June 23. He was heading to St. Louis for the Cardinals game. He said he likes how convenient it is and that he'll look for flights again in the future.
But, what if he could fly to other big cities like Chicago, Atlanta or Nashville from Cape Girardeau?
"We could take a flight up to Chicago and watch the Cardinals beat up on the Cubs a little bit," said Glass.
That may be possible for Glass and other Heartland residents by the end of the year.
Airport manager Bruce Loy said there are a lot of good options and making a decision will not be easy.
"It also takes a lot of research and we can only hope that we can make the right one," said Loy.
Members of the airport advisory board will present its recommendation during a city council meeting on July 28.
"The city council then makes a decision based on our recommendation and then makes a recommendation to the United States Department of Transportation," said Loy.
That will be the final decision.
You can read each of the proposals:
- Air Choice One
- Option 1: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis
- Option 2: Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN and Cape Girardeau to St. Louis
- Boutique Air
- Option 1: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis and Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN
- Option 2: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis; Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN; Cape Girardeau to Atlanta; Cape Girardeau to Chicago O'Hare International Airport (different schedule than Option 3)
- Option 3: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis; Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN; Cape Girardeau to Atlanta; Cape Girardeau to Chicago O'Hare International Airport (different schedule than Option 2)
Option 4: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis and Cape Girardeau to Atlanta, GA
Option 5: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis and Cape Girardeau to Chicago O’Hare
Option 6: Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN and Cape Girardeau to St. Louis
Option 7: Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN and Cape Girardeau to Atlanta, GA
Option 8: Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN and Cape Girardeau to Chicago O’Hare
Option 9: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis and Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN
Option 10: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis and Cape Girardeau to Atlanta, GA
Option 11: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis and Cape Girardeau to Chicago O’Hare
- Cape Air
- Cape Girardeau to St. Louis Lambert
- Southern Airways Express
- Option A: Cape Girardeau to Nashville, TN; Cape Girardeau to St. Louis; Cape Girardeau to Memphis
- Option B: Cape Girardeau to St. Louis
- SkyWest Airlines
- Cape Girardeau to Chicago O'Hare International Airport
Glass thinks that opening up the airport to more destinations would benefit the Heartland.
"I can see this being a huge economical driver," said Glass.
He thinks that easier access to Cape would attract more businesses.
"Obviously business executives would look for their options here in Cape," Glass said.
Loy said it's too soon to tell if more personnel will be needed at the airport until the official decision is made.
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