Joplin’s new air service took off today with American Airlines now offering two flights daily to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
The flight coming into the Joplin Regional Airport from Chicago was nearly full as passengers disembarked and were greeted by City and community members excited to welcome them to southwest Missouri. As 50 passengers prepared to board the sold-out first flight to Chicago, there were many smiles from both the travelers, friends and family sending them off, and the Joplin community members gathered at the terminal to celebrate this milestone.
“This is a great day for Joplin and our area,” said Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw. “We’re very pleased that Chicago service is now a reality for our traveling community members. We’ve had a strong partnership with American Airlines since 2011 and appreciate their support and all of those in our community who have been working hard for many years to make this a reality.”
American Airlines announced the upgrade of their service in Joplin to include two flights daily, (except Saturday which has just one), to Chicago O’Hare International Airport in January this year. Passengers can now easily reach one of the busiest hubs in the U.S. to make both domestic and international connections. The Chicago service, flown with a 50-passenger ERJ-145 regional jet, have been added to the two daily flights to Dallas/Fort Worth that American Airlines currently offers.
“The Chicago service broadens the travel opportunities for our community with the convenience of more connections,” said Steve Stockam, Manager for the Joplin Regional Airport. “We’ve had strong numbers for the Dallas/Fort Worth service and we anticipate that this trend will continue with the Chicago service that both business and leisure travelers have been wanting.”
The service begins in the summer in time for American’s new seasonal service to Athens, Greece (ATH) from ORD and the seasonal return to Venice, Italy (VCE). With convenient flight times, Joplin customers can connect to these European hot spots and to over 500 flights from ORD.
The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce supports the City in securing this service and partnered with them in a one-year minimum revenue guarantee (MRG) agreement in an amount not to exceed $600,000 for the service. These funds will be available, if needed, following American’s monthly reviews of flight numbers and revenues. The Chamber raised pledges from area businesses to reach $200,000 for the agreement. The City’s portion of $400,000 will be split 50/50 from the Transportation Sales Tax Fund Balance and the Convention and Visitor Bureau Fund Balance.
“This service will impact our economic development efforts and increase general travel in our community,” said Toby Teeter, executive director of the Chamber. “We’re proud to stand with the City as we launch this new service that provides a convenience and access for those doing business in our community today and in the future.”
The local financial impact is estimated to bring 48,000 additional passengers through the Joplin Airport. Approximately 15,000 more overnight room stays from new passengers are expected, which is projected to generate an additional $3 million for the local economy. The Airport is expected to see $115,000 annually in new fee revenues.
“We’ve heard from our customers that they wanted to get to Chicago, and early reservations are showing this trend,” said Stockam. “Today it is very evident. Our first flight was sold out, and we do appreciate everyone’s support in getting to this point and carrying this moment forward.”
Flights times to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD on ticketing sites) are:
“We’ve had a great day,” said Stockam. “We are optimistic in seeing more passengers and know they’ll enjoy our customer service and convenience that we offer at the Joplin Regional Airport. Our free parking and convenient access to the terminal is just the beginning of a great experience when you Fly Joplin!”
For more information about the Joplin Regional Airport and its flight service, go to www.jlnairport.com . To book a flight, go to www.AA.com .