Transportation

Four airlines seek to serve Quincy airport

In this May file photo, a plane waits at the terminal at Quincy Regional Airport. Four airlines submitted proposals for passenger air service at the airport through the Essential Air Service program. H-W File Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 5, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Four airlines are vying to provide passenger air service to Quincy Regional Airport, with some offering flights to both St. Louis and Chicago.

Boutique Air, Air Choice One, Cape Air and SkyWest Airlines, who has the current contract, each submitted proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation to offer flights from Quincy through the Essential Air Service program. The program provides subsidies to airlines that provide service to rural airports.

Current Quincy Regional Airport provider SkyWest Airlines of St. George, Utah, is proposing 12 flights per week to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport using 50-seat CRJ-200 aircraft, for $3.2 million per year.

The airline pledged to spend $20,000 for marketing. Average ticket price for flights to Chicago would be $79.

SkyWest took over service in December 2017 with a $2.66 million annual subsidy after being selected by the Department of Transportation.

Former air service provider Cape Air of Hyannis, Mass., submitted three proposals.

The first offers 36 flights between Quincy and St. Louis Lambert International Airport starting at $2.193 million for a two-year contract and $2.13 million for a four-year contract.

The second proposes 24 flights per week to St. Louis and 12 flights per week to Chicago starting at $2.77 million for a two-year contract and $2.691 million for a four-year contract.

The final proposal offers 18 flights per week to both St. Louis and Chicago starting at $3.059 million for a two-year contract and $2.971 million for a four-year contract.

All of its proposals include an annual increase in its subsidy.

Cape Air proposes new aircraft, the Tecnam P2012 Traveller, which is a nine-passenger plane. The company also said it plans to spend $45,000 for marketing.

In its proposal, the airline says the average fare for flights to St. Louis would be $50 and the average price for flights to Chicago would be $75.

Cape Air held the Essential Air Service contract from 2007 to 2017 when it offered service to St. Louis.

Boutique Air, which is headquartered in San Francisco, has a fleet of airplanes consisting of Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, which offers seating of eight or nine passengers.

It proposes 24 weekly flights to St. Louis and 12 weekly flights to Chicago for $3.29 million per year for a two-year contract.

Boutique Air also proposes a two-year contract for 36 weekly flights to St. Louis for $2.903 million.

The airline said it would spend $50,000 per year in marketing and advertising to help promote the airport. Average ticket prices for Boutique Air would be $45 to St. Louis and $79 to Chicago.

Air Choice One of St. Louis is proposing 36 flights per week -- 18 to St. Louis and 18 flights to Chicago -- using 19-passenger Beechcraft 1900.

The airline's proposal includes a two-year or four-year contract starting at $2.962 million per year with an annual 3 percent increase.

The average ticket price for Air Choice One flights to St. Louis would be $64 and $115 for flights to Chicago.

Quincy Regional Airport Director Sandra Shore said after Wednesday's Aeronautics Committee meeting that the city has until Aug. 9 to give its recommendation to the Department of Transportation, which ultimately awards the contract.

To help the committee make its recommendation, Shore said she and other officials are preparing two town halls in late July. Two airlines will present information about their proposals each night.

Details of the town halls are incomplete.