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Boone County considers $50,000 contribution to United Airlines revenue guarantee

Boone County commissioners are set to decide whether the county will contribute $50,000 to a revenue guarantee that will ensure flight revenue for United Airlines.

“It worked well in the past and I expect it will this time,” said presiding commissioner Dan Atwill.

In 2012, the city of Columbia entered into a similar agreement with American Airlines. The two-year, $3 million contract was a guarantee for its Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth flights.

Public and private entities contributed the money and if a flight did not reach its expected capacity during a particular month, money to fill the gap would be drawn from the fund.

The city only dipped into the fund once in two years, and the money was returned in full to the investors with interest.

This time around, United Airlines is getting a $600,000 guarantee. Cole County has pledged $50,000, Jefferson City officials will contribute $100,000 and the University of Missouri is shelling out $200,000. With the proposed amount from Boone County, the remaining $200,000 has been raised by about a dozen local businesses and people.

Greg Steinhoff, vice president of strategic operations for Veterans United, said he called many of them to ask if they would be willing to contribute and was pleased that most of them said yes.

“It’s a lot of $5,000 or $10,000 donations,” he said. “A lot of the same people as last time are participating.”

Columbia will contribute $250,000 in marketing the flights. Atwill said United is interested in marketing their flights, particularly the new Denver flight.

Atwill said the commission will most likely approve the contribution because they support economic development and bringing more opportunities to the airport.

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