Second flight to Chicago starts Wednesday

Monday, March 31, 2014 | 8:10 p.m. CDT; updated 6:39 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 2, 2014

COLUMBIA — The second daily American Airlines flight between Columbia and Chicago will start Wednesday.

The new, 65-minute flight will depart Columbia Regional Airport at 6 a.m., giving travelers a morning alternative to the 1:40 p.m. flight.

A corresponding 70-minute flight will depart O'Hare International Airport at 6:35 p.m., in addition to the current 3:35 p.m. flight.

The Columbia City Council approved the new air service agreement, which adds $500,000 to American Airline's $3 million guarantee fund, during its Nov. 4 meeting. The airline draws from the guarantee fund when a flight between Columbia and Chicago brings in less than $4,403 of revenue, according to previous Missourian reporting.

The only time American Airlines has drawn from that fund was in February 2013. It withdrew $22,562 after its first two weeks operating out of Columbia, according to previous Missourian reporting.

City leaders and airline representatives have discussed adding a second Chicago flight for some time, said Matt McCormick, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

Ticket sales for the two Dallas flights and the initial Chicago flight have been robust, McCormick said, so he's confident a second flight to Chicago will prove successful.

McCormick said he hopes this will pave the way for American Airlines to add even more flights from Columbia.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe and American Airlines representative Don Morrison will speak at the flight's ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Columbia Regional Airport.

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