College president offers advice to city airport board

Stephens College president wants to see more flights.
Thursday, August 9, 2007 | 2:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:59 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Correction: This story has been changed to correct the number and locations of Columbia College Campuses.

COLUMBIA - The president of Stephens College stressed the impact a vibrant airport in Columbia would have on the city and its colleges and universities on Wednesday.

Wendy Libby addressed the Airport Advisory Board on Wednesday afternoon and discussed the benefits of increasing service and improving communication between passengers and carriers.

“I spend about 50 percent of my time in the air,” Libby said.

She continues to fly from the Columbia airport because there is service to Kansas City, but she bases her decisions on her schedule.

“I know that I can get in my car and drive two and a half hours to three hours to another airport,” she said.

Broadening air services to gateway destinations, such as Dallas and Chicago, would open up opportunities for students from Stephens College and the city of Columbia, Libby said.

“Direct service would create a direct line to students and families,” she said. “This airport could help colleges and universities in Columbia attract students.”

Barb Peterson, director of public relations and marketing at Columbia College, said her college would also benefit from an increase in cities serviced by Columbia’s airport.

Columbia College has 32 campuses in 11 states.

“The airport would be a benefit to the faculty and staff who travel to those campuses on college business,” Peterson said.

Libby also encouraged the board to think about how they communicate with clients. She said communication is almost more important than the quality of service. Having someone who can tell customers what is going on with their flights gives travelers enough time to find other means of transportation if there are delays or cancellations, she said.

“All that matters is schedule and reliability,” she said. “I know how to get where I need to be.”

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