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Airlines make pitches to service Veterans Airport in Marion

MARION (WSIL) — You could soon have the option of flying to Chicago from the Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois in Marion. But the airport needs your input to help them make a decision.

Greg Atkin, the managing director of Sky West Airlines flew into Marion along with his team for a quick presentation of the airline’s proposal for flight services to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). 

"We think Chicago was a great springboard to take the flight to the next level," says Atkin.

Atkin says the jet holds 50 passengers and travelers will be able to book a flight for less than $80 one-way. During the week, the airline would provide two flights a day to Chicago. On the weekend, the airline would offer one flight a day to ORD.

Atkins says in less than 45 minutes, people could get from southern Illinois to a major international airport, from which they could go almost anywhere, "There’s going to be 600 flights that go to over 170 destinations around the world."

Doug Kimmel, airport director at Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois, says a total of five airlines are proposing their services to the airport. 

"From Cape Air (the existing airline), Sky West here today, Southern Airway Express, Boutique Air, and Air Choice One," says Kimmel. 

Cape Air is also proposing a new flight to Nashville. That proposal will be announced on July 23. 

"We’re trying to get a good indication of what people overall want for the air service needs for our region," says Kimmel. 

Both Kimmel and Atkin say you can help them with this process. All you have to do is fill out this survey and vote for which airline’s proposal you’d like to see come to our area.

The airport authority has until August 9 to submit community comments and let the U.S. Department of Transportation know which proposal they prefer.

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News 3 Staff

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