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Delta to Leave Columbia Airport

***UPDATE WEDNESDAY 6 P.M.***Columbia Regional Airport leaders say they would love to have three airlines flying out of Mid-Missouri, but they believe Delta left at a good time for the airport. Officials say they were happy with the service from Delta and that service helped to show other airlines that flights could be successful and full. City leaders say they have a lot of upgrades in the near future and will be aggressive in promoting the airport.”One of the reasons to be aggressive about pursuing air service is we’re going to be spending $50 million on that airport over the next three years and I don’t want to make this glib, but if you’re going to spend that money you need to have some airplanes there,” said Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid.Board members say they are focusing on making sure the relationships with American Airlines and Fronteir Airlines are as good as they can be. They want those airlines to expand to other markets, which is something city leaders do not believe Delta had any plans on doing.City leaders believe there will not be much of a drop off in attraction for businesses because of the loss of the Atlanta flight. They say the addition of the Chicago and Dallas flights mean more businesses out west will have better access to the region.***UPDATE TUESDAY 4:05 P.M.***Delta Airlines has declined the deal with the city and will leave the Columbia market in 2013. The airline says service will end on February 13th. The airline will continue two flights per day in January and then reduce that to one flight per day February 1st through the 13th.Airfare is expected to increase dramatically because of the discontinuation of service.The city said Delta officials informed them the airline lost $900,000 last year providing service.***UPDATE 4 P.M.***The city announced it will be granting Delta Airlines a similar deal it provided to American Airlines for their service to the Columbia Regional Airport.Beginning in 2014, Delta will have two daily flights to Atlanta. The city will offer a revenue guarantee of $3 million spread over two years and include an advertising component. The city will also waive all landing fees starting in 2013 and last through the end of the agreement.***ORIGINAL STORY***The city has announced a press conference regarding air service at Columbia Regional Airport.Mayor Bob McDavid and City Manager Mike Matthes with address reporters at 4 p.m. in the City Council Chamber.Continue to check for updates.

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