Cape Air enplanes 10,000th passenger

Meredith Hogg (left), Cape Air's 10,000th passenger to fly out of Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois, is pictured with Cape Air employee Preson Boone in the Marion terminal. 

PROVIDED BY CAPE AIR

MARION — Cape Air and Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois reached their 2017 goal of 10,000 enplanements on Tuesday, Dec. 26. The benchmark is a top priority for both the airline and the airport.

Erin Hatzell, regional director of marketing for Cape Air, said Illinois Department of Transportation looks at the number of people who get on a plane at an airport to help determine essential services. In this case, they look at the number of passengers boarding in Marion and flying to St. Louis. Passengers boarding in St. Louis to fly to Marion are not counted.

Airports that enplane at least 10,000 passengers in the previous calendar year are designated as primary airports by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Our numbers are up from last year. We attribute that to our new fare structure,” Hatzell said. “We started the new fares in Quarter 1 of this year. We have seen an uptick since we started that.”

The new fare structure offers flights for as low as $29, plus additional fees and taxes. Historically, Cape Air fares have been between $49 and $52, which included baggage, taxes and fees.

By reaching this goal, Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois qualifies for $1 million in funding from Federal Aviation Administration to cover eligible airport improvements.

“It’s a win-win. While we receive the revenue from ticket sales, the airport receives $1 million. With the new terminal, it’s very important for them to receive that funding,” Hatzell said.

In a news release, airport director Doug Kimmel said the ability of Cape Air to generate more passenger traffic and reach this milestone is critical for the airport. Funds from the FAA go toward capital improvement projects each year, such as recent runway paving and lighting improvement. Those also provide safe and efficient facilities for Cape Air and its passengers, he said.

The 10,000th passenger flying from Marion to St. Louis was Meredith Hogg.

“When she checked in, we notified her that she was our 10,000th passenger, and she was awarded a free ticket,” Hatzell said.

Cape Air operates daily, year-round flights between Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois and St. Louis- Lambert International Airport. For more information or to book a flight, visit www.capeair.com or call 800-227-3247.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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