QUINCY -- Cape Air is in and SkyWest Airlines is out as the essential air service provider at Quincy Regional Airport.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation made the announcement of a two-year contract with Cape Air on Tuesday afternoon, effectively ending a months-long speculation about who would be the airport's commercial air provider. Cape Air plans to offer daily flights to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and to St. Louis' Lambert International Airport. The contract takes effect Dec. 1.
"This is the determination that we have been waiting to know for quite a while," Quincy Regional Airport Director Sandra Shore said following the announcement. "Now we begin our work to make this a peaceful and painless transition, with as little impact as possible on our passengers."
Shore said she anticipates passengers will be able to purchase tickets on Cape Air flights by sometime next week.
Passengers who have already booked flights on SkyWest flights will have to wait and see what exactly this means for their travel plans.
"When we sit down with both airlines, this is going to be one of the first things that we discuss," Shore said. "We know that with the holiday season coming up that many people have already made their travel plans. If there is a transition and refunds need to be issued, all passengers will receive a refund from SkyWest and then be able to rebook the leg of their trip out of Quincy."
Shore said she is optimistic that those who need to rebook their flights will be able to capitalize on the increased number of flights offered by Cape Air to St. Louis and to Chicago. A formal flight schedule is also expected to be announced next week by the airline. Cape Air plans to use its new Tecnam P-2012 nine-passenger planes for both routes. All planes will be piloted by two pilots.
"The really unique and great thing about Cape Air's proposal was that flexibility of having flights to St. Louis and more flights to Chicago," Shore said. "They are also very flexible, so if the St. Louis route fails to meet expectations, then we can add more flights to Chicago."
Shore and Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore said they are looking forward to working with Cape Air.
"I am grateful for SkyWest because they got us to Chicago and we got to plant our flag at one of the world's busiest airports, but there was a segment of our community who wanted to be able to fly out of St. Louis," Moore said. "Unfortunately, SkyWest's business model wouldn't allow them to give us that option. Cape Air does. Now we have flights to St. Louis and this is an exciting time for Quincy Regional Airport as the airport becomes a multi-destination airport, which will give passengers more options on where they want to go and how they want to travel."
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