Quincy News

Quincy flight reliability is key, says local travel agent

People watch as their family members deplane from a flight on Wednesday at Quincy Regional Airport. The number of canceled flights has increased at the airport.
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 21, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Jul. 21, 2019 1:20 am

Editor's note: This report has been updated to include an additional comment from SkyWest Airlines.

QUINCY -- A Quincy businesswoman hopes SkyWest Airlines executives will explain why the number of flights canceled from Quincy Regional Airport have increased this year.

According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which is a division of the federal government's Department of Transportation, approximately 65.88% of flights left Quincy Regional Airport on time. That is not good enough, said Mecki Kosin, owner of Travel House of Quincy.

"No one really trusts anymore that the plane will actually go when they say it is going to go," Kosin said. "Nobody wants to book a flight at Quincy because they can't trust the airline."

SkyWest Airlines, based in St. George, Utah, is the current air service provider. A company spokesman said the data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics did not match company's records. Instead, the company uses the Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Report because it “gives a better perspective on what’s happening across the industry.”

SkyWest Airlines is one of four vying to be awarded the commercial air service contract for Quincy Regional Airport by the federal Department of Transportation. Each of the four airlines will make a presentation to the public and to representatives from the Quincy City Council and the city's Aeronautics Committee, which includes representatives from both the City Council and the public.

On Wednesday, representatives from both Air Choice One and Boutique Air will make presentations in a town hall. On Thursday, representatives from Cape Air and SkyWest Airlines will make similar presentations. Both town halls begin at 5:30 p.m.

Each airline will be allowed 15 minutes for a presentation and then 30 minutes of questions from the committee, the City Council and the public.

Kosin said she hopes SkyWest representatives will address the increase in canceled flights.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the number of flights canceled or delayed at the airport have increased in three statistical categories.

In 2018, the percentage of canceled flights was 5.76%. From January to April 2019, there has been a near 8% increase in the number of canceled flights.

The number of flights that were delayed due to the air service provider also increased by 2%. Similarly, the number of flights that were delayed by weather also increased.

"Chicago always has windstorms off of the lake," Kosin said. "I get that, but it is another reason why we need another destination because if a traveler is leaving Quincy then we can rebook them through another airport like St. Louis."

In a statement, Giles said, severe storms are to blame for the canceled flights.

“In 2019, there have been a number of severe storms that have affected airports across the Midwest, resulting in an increased number of weather-related cancellations across the aviation industry compared to 2018,” Giles said. “Outside of the weather, our reliability in Quincy has remained similar year over year. We are committed to providing reliable service in the Quincy community and were excited to see that in June we did not have a single canceled flight.”

Quincy Regional Airport Director Sandra Shore said it may not be entirely fair to place blame for the canceled flights on the airline.

"It is too broad of a category for me to really isolate whether it was the fault of the airline or something else as to why the flight was canceled," Shore said. She acknowledged that the airport struggled with flights because of a "rough winter."

Both Kosin and Shore encouraged the public to attend the hearings.

"I'm afraid for the airport," Kosin said. "If they do not start having more reliable service then I really think people will stop using it completely. If they (the airline) are going to turn it around, the first step is prove they are going to be more reliable with their flights, which I know is not going to happen overnight."

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