United Airlines will begin daily non-stop service from Columbia Regional Airport (COU) to Denver and Chicago on Tuesday August 1.
“And we’re going to have a great day for that first inbound flight from Denver on August 2,” Treece says. “The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has given us a water cannon, we’ll have a little water salute and we’re having a ribbon-cutting on that first airplane coming in.”
United will also fly from Columbia to Chicago’s O’Hare International, starting Tuesday.
Mayor Treece tells Missourinet it’s also great news for inbound flights.
“On August 2 we’ll have a direct flight from Denver International coming to Columbia,” says Treece. “That’s great news for the University of Missouri as well as the city of Columbia and the medical destination that I’ve been trying to create there with our world-class health care right in our own back yard.”
Treece says United’s announcement will help with his “medical destination” effort.
“We’ve got great physicians here, we’ve got a nuclear reactor that is one of its kind in North America and I really see this being catalytic for Columbia’s economy, but I also want it to be a regional asset,” Treece says.
Treece tells Missourinet about 20 percent of Columbia Regional passengers live in Jefferson City, adding that the airport attracts residents from towns like Fulton and Mexico as well.
He says the new flights will give consumers more choices, more seats and more affordable ticket costs. Treece says passengers at Columbia Regional also benefit from free parking.
Columbia voters approved a lodging tax increase last August, from four to five percent. Mayor Treece hopes to break ground on a new terminal at Columbia Regional next year.
American Airlines will continue to fly from Columbia, with daily non-stop flights to Dallas and Chicago.
Treece notes Veterans United and Learfield (the parent company of Missourinet) have offices in the Dallas area.
Veterans United spokeswoman Lauren Whitney-Karr tells Missourinet that VU has more than 60 employees at their Irving office. The Learfield office is in Plano.
And starting on Wednesday August 2, there will be four early-morning flights leaving COU within a one-hour window. Travelers are urged to give themselves extra time.
Click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with Columbia Mayor Brian Treece, which was recorded on July 28, 2017: