COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
United Airlines announced Thursday it will indefinitely discontinue flights out of the Columbia Regional Airport (COU).
The suspension is scheduled to start on Jan. 4, 2022.
According to a press release from the City of Columbia, the airport is one of eight locations that is impacted by the suspension.
The decision to suspend flights was made due to a limited amount of resources and staffing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release.
City manager John Glascock said, "Everybody has resource problems. Theirs probably is pilots. They didn't specify what that was but I'm assuming they're having a hard time getting the pilots that they need to fly the aircraft".
Columbia is expected to stay in contact with United Airlines to evaluate the effects of the pandemic on the air travel industry.
"COU provides the entire mid-Missouri region a way to connect with the rest of the world. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure our customers have a positive and convenient travel experience they would not be able to replicate at other locations," said Glascock.
United Airlines operates two daily flights to Chicago out of COU. The airline first started service to and from Columbia on Aug. 1, 2017.
The airline still plans to run two flights from Chicago but the new carrier is with American Airlines.
"Were also working with American trying to get more flights from American to those destinations we need to go to", Glascock said.
The Chamber of Commerce said, "The Chamber of Commerce supports the continued development of the Columbia regional airport and its positive impact on our ability to grow existing businesses and attract new investment."
Glascock said the expected improvements at Columbia Regional Aiport are still planned. That includes a runway extension project that is scheduled to wrap up in December.
The construction of a new airport terminal building is also expected to be finished by the summer of 2022.
For now, the Columbia Airport and the City will continue to work hard to ensure their customers have a positive travel experience.
"Were a growing market, uh we continue to grow uh we see nothing but growth on the horizon and we're going to do everything we can uh here at the City Columbia Regional Airport, to bring more carriers and to bring more options for our passengers," Glascock said.