The City of Columbia and Columbia Regional Airport has received an $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Program for marketing services and a revenue guarantee for proposed nonstop daily air service between Columbia and Charlotte, North Carolina.

The grant award is the first step in negotiating an exciting new destination with American Airlines," Economic Development Director for the City of Columbia Stacey Button said. "We will now begin working with American to negotiate and enter into a revenue guarantee contract which will require council approval.

Charlotte consistently ranks high in new destination requests from those who fly or would fly from Columbia Regional Airport.

In addition to the $800,000 grant community partners have committed $310,000 towards the service. The University of Missouri has committed $80,000 to the project, MoDOT $150,000 and the Columbia Regional Airport $80,000 for marketing assistance.

The grant application was accompanied by strong letters of support from Senator Roy Blunt, Senator Josh Hawley, Representative Vicky Hartzler, Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, COU Airport Advisory Board, Regional Economic Development Inc., Missouri Department of Transportation, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Convention and Visitor Bureau, University of Missouri and University of Missouri Athletics.

"Great partnerships result in great opportunities. Our strong relationship with our community partners is reflected in this grant award," Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said. "Expanded air service to Charlotte means enhanced connections throughout the eastern U.S. which brings new and exciting economic and travel opportunities to mid Missouri."

Columbia Regional Airport currently offers service to Chicago, Dallas and Denver through American Airlines and United Airlines. The proposed service to Charlotte through American will offer connections to over 169 destinations worldwide. The University of Missouri Athletics department says the service will provide direct connections into the entire SEC footprint and make travel easier for athletes, coaches, and result in less lost class time for student athletes.

You can find more information on this from the City of Columbia press release here.