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Columbia Regional Adds Flights

***UPDATE 6:14 P.M. FRIDAY***Columbia city leaders tell ABC 17 News the goal is in eight years to have 40-percent of all Mid-Missouri fliers go through Columbia Regional Airport. They say with the additions of Chicago and Dallas, along with the flights to Atlanta, they will now have flights going to three of the fours largest hubs in the country.Columbia city leaders tell us they will now have one stop from almost any location in the country. They say not only will this increase business for the airport, it should attract businesses to Mid-Missouri. If more businesses come to the area, they should expect more flights to come along with it too meaning more options for everyone.”What we’re offering is convenience,” Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid explained. “What we’re offering is an opportunity to put a monetary value on their time.”McDavid tells us they targeted large hubs where they know a lot of demand will be. He knows they will never get 100-percent of Mid-Missourians to fly out of Columbia, but if they can get at least 40-percent they will be able to have a strong air service presence at the airport for the future.The other half of getting people to fly out of Columbia is ticket prices. City leaders know prices won’t be as cheap as St. Louis or Kansas City, but as long as they can keep them reasonable they know people will take the convenience over having to driving two hours.”We hope that differential, that premium is going to be in the $30- 35, $40 range max each way,” McDavid says.City leaders tell us they are willing to fully support the airport. They say they want this to succeed and will do everything they can to reach their goal and maybe even get more flights in the future.***UPDATE 11:59 P.M. FRIDAY***Leaders will introduce the deal to the Columbia city council Friday, in order to pass it by the end of the month.The additional American Airlines flights will go to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International. Planes will no longer fly to Memphis next year.The main carrier will be Delta, with most flights going to Atlanta. Officials say the changes will attract extra customers and bigger facilities, which carry a hefty price tag.The city council will review the proposal from American Airlines 5 p.m. Friday, and leaders hope to get it approved by the October 22 meeting.***ORIGINAL STORY***Columbia Regional Airport will begin offering two new flights in 2013.Starting in February, American Airlines will offer flights to Chicago and Dallas.City officials made the announcement just after 5 p.m. Thursday at a press conference at city hall.

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