CNBC is reporting that American Airlines is getting ready to cut service to two dozen smaller and medium sized cities when federal coronavirus aid that prohibited airlines from cutting service ends on September 30. Could service at Columbia Regional Airport be impacted?

It's possible, Columbia Regional Airport is served by both American Airlines and United. And the passenger load numbers for American's flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth are pretty ugly. In April, at the height of the pandemic American's flight load was down 90% from 2019. Down 88% in May 2020 compared to May 2019. And down 83% in June 2020 compared to June 2019. The numbers were a little brighter in July with passenger loads only down 63% from last July.

American, though was seeing some bright spots in passenger load's prior to the coronavirus pandemic with passenger loads increasing 23% and 30% respectively in January and February of this year. Add to that the University of Missouri being located in Columbia and it not really being a convenient drive to either St. Louis or Kansas City to catch a flight and American might think before cutting service.

United's passenger load for flights out of Columbia haven't rebounded as well as American's, however CNBC is reporting that the airline will maintain service because it's seeing decent booking to the smaller cities it serves.

I hope both airlines retain their current level of service to Columbia. I like flying out of small airports when I can. Simply, the worst parking spot in the lot would be a get a major airport. The "long" security line isn't really long. And there's just a generally less hurried feeling than at big city airports. Plus, I like the idea of driving from my office in Sedalia to the Columbia airport on a Thursday afternoon and flying to Chicago for a long weekend. All we need to do for that to happen is beat COVID-19


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