The U.S. Department of Transportation recently approved plans for SkyWest Airlines to provide air service from Cape to Chicago starting this December.
Over the last several years, Cape Air has provided consistent commercial flights, which was a major improvement for our region. They served us well at that stage in the development of Cape Girardeau, but now it’s time to take a step forward.
This announcement is big news. We are moving from a small propeller plane, to a 50-passenger jet with a flight attendant and a bathroom on board. SkyWest will be fully integrated with American, Delta and United at Chicago O’Hare Airport.
Last year we had around 5,500 passengers fly out of Cape, down from a peak of 6,500 in 2014. We hope to see those numbers grow significantly with the introduction of SkyWest. However, the economic impact of our airport goes well beyond just the passengers. According to MODOT’s most recent Missouri Statewide Airports Economic Impact Study, the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport is responsible for 202 total jobs with a payroll of $6.3 million and a total economic output of just under $20 million dollars.
Good air service is an economic engine, a quality of life issue and business attraction and retention issue. SkyWest is a great leap forward for our area and I encourage everyone to explore flying from Cape for business and personal travel.
Also on Tuesday, September 19 at 3:30 p.m., we will hold a ribbon cutting for the Nestle Purina Care Unit at the Humane Society on Boutin Drive.