American Airlines flights generate enough revenue to hold their own

Monday, July 8, 2013 | 6:45 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — City officials announced Monday that American Airlines did not require a payment in May from the Air Service Revenue Guarantee fund, marking the third such month in a row.

The fund was created to reimburse American in case each of the two daily flight to and from Chicago fails to bring in at least $4,403 or if the daily flight to and from Dallas-Fort Worth fail to bring in at least $5,012.

The revenue guarantee has only been utilized once — $22,562 after the first two weeks of flights began Feb. 14. Flights during those two weeks operated at 84 percent capacity.

Columbia Finance Director John Blattel said Monday that flights are still performing with 80 percent to 90 percent occupancy rates and that he isn't sure whether future payments will be made to American.

"We are still reserving judgment for the winter months," he said.

If American does not exhaust the $3 million fund over two years, the money will be returned to the various businesses and government entities that support the guarantee.

The airline offers two daily nonstop flights to Chicago and one daily nonstop flight to Dallas-Fort Worth out of Columbia Regional Airport. The flights are the only remaining options for air travelers after Delta and Frontier discontinued service within the past year.

Supervising editor is Jake Kreinberg.

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