Columbia Regional Airport potentially expanding

Columbia Regional Airport is looking to add a new destination in Chicago, Denver or Dallas.
The Columbia Regional Airport is considering adding one or two more destinations for mid-Missouri travelers.

Many students might soon have a quicker and more convenient way of getting to and from Columbia via the Columbia Regional Airport.

City Manager Mike Matthes has begun to talk about the possibility of adding another flight destination to the Columbia Regional Airport.   “I’d love to say it’s going to happen this summer," Matthes said on KBIA 91.3 FM's "Intersection" talk show last week. "That’s what we’re shooting for. I think all the tumblers are in place. We just have to, you know, make it happen.”

Looking into this possibility, Airport Advisory Board Chairman Gregory Cecil said in an article in The Columbia Missourian that the airport is doing well, but the goal is for the airport to be doing better and to become a bigger market.

“Nothing’s been decided at this point,” Columbia Public Works spokeswoman Jill Stedem said. “Getting an airline interested is the next step. Airlines just haven’t been looking to expand.”   Matthes said he thinks the situation is ripe now.

“The demand for those locations is clear,” he said on the talk show. “They have space available … Airlines have scaled back, and there are planes available.”   MU students could benefit from the prospective new destinations like Chicago, which would make their trips home easier.

“I was surprised when I found out no flights went to Chicago seeing as it’s one of the largest cities in the nation and relatively close by,” freshman Natasha Jenkins said. “If I didn’t have my car at school I would always take the flight because it’s the fastest way to get home.”

Freshman Lauren Blood said she usually drives home, but she would fly if tickets were cheaper.   “It would be a good idea,” she said. “Mizzou is becoming more and more popular each year with Chicagoans.”   Jenkins said she believes there is a market for flights to and from Chicago.

“Honestly, I’ve met more kids from the Chicago suburbs than from Missouri,” Jenkins said.   Stedem said there will be discussions soon concerning the addition of a new destination.

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