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Third American Airlines Flight Serving Dallas Could Land Future - KOAM TV 7

Third American Airlines Flight Serving Dallas Could Land Future Flights to Chicago

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Joplin, MO -

American Airlines and the Joplin Regional Airport have announced a third flight between Dallas and Joplin.  The two current flights each have a capacity of 66 passengers.  From now until the end of summer, the third flight is scheduled intermittently with different capacities.

Joplin's airport manager hopes the success of these third flights will prove that air travel has become more important for Four Staters, and that the airline would add a destination.

Joplin's Christ in Youth organization books about 650 nationwide flights a year.

"A third of them come out of Joplin, a third of them leave out of Springfield, and a third leave out of Northwest Arkansas.  A few would fly out of Tulsa," says Chris Roberts with Christ in Youth.

Ticket cost is what matters the most.  When CIY workers like Roberts find a flight from Joplin that has a required layover in Dallas...

"Nine times out of 10 it's a stop through to get somewhere else," says Roberts.

...Somewhere else that's north of Texas...and Missouri, for that matter.  

"If you go to the Northeast or to the East Coast through Dallas, it adds about six to seven hours on time of time on your flight," says Joplin Airport Manager Steve Stockham.

The Joplin Airport used to offer flights to the Midwest. Based on records, Stockham feels he has a solid pitch to American Airlines. 

"We feel very comfortable in saying if we had two flights to Dallas, and we had two flights to Chicago, the four flights out of this facility would generate 110, 115 thousand passengers a year," says Stockham.

"More options that would hopefully give us more competitive pricing," says Roberts.

Stockham hopes growing passenger counts in and out of Joplin means American Airlines will no longer need subsidies from the government to serve Joplin.  No subsidies might mean less red tape for the airline.

"Now I can work with that community and I can do other things and try other things that hopefully will stimulate traffic and grow service," says Stockham.

Stockham says passenger numbers from now until the end of this year will prove most critical for expanding Joplin air travel.

Stockham hopes that part of this trial run for more flights serving Joplin includes looking at passenger layovers in Dallas, and ultimate final destinations, to determine if service to Chicago would be worthwhile.

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