Tri States Public Radio Staff
Sat October 24, 2009
CHI, STL Flights Coming To Burlington
Burlington, IA – A change in airlines at the Southeast Iowa Regional Airport could boost regional economic development efforts. The airport has offered daily, round-trip flights from Burlington to Kansas City for several years.
The Southeast Iowa Regional Airport's new essential air service contract with Missouri-based Air Choice One calls for daily, round-trip flights to Chicago and Saint Louis. The federal government pays airlines to provide service to rural airports through the essential air program.
Three airlines bid to provide service to Southeast Iowa Regional Airport. Air Choice One will receive more than $2-million.
Dennis Hinkle with the Greater Burlington Partnership says the availability of flights to both locations will help in the recruitment of business and industry. He says commercial air service can be a critical factor in economic development efforts.
Hinkle says the Chicago flights will also help the international businesses in the region due to O'Hare Airport's overseas connections. He says that is part of the reason why the Greater Burlington Partnership supported the proposal by Air Choice One.
Southeast Iowa Regional Airport Manager Mary Beaird says the Saint Louis flights should be up and running by December 15th. She says the Chicago flights should start up about one month later.
Beaird says Great Lakes will continue to offer the Kansas City flights until the Air Choice One service is ready. The U.S. Department of Transportation made the final decision on the essential air service provider.
Cape Air (MA) has been selected to serve Quincy Regional Airport.