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Cape Air makes proposal to add flights at Veterans Airport

MARION (WSIL) — You could soon fly from Marion to new destinations. 

Multiple airlines are vying for the chance to operate out of Veterans Airport. 

The company currently based there gave its proposal Tuesday afternoon with new additions if they’re chosen. 

For 10 years Cape Air has flown from Veterans Airport of Southern Illinois to St. Louis Lambert International Airport and now the company is competing to keep its spot.

"It’s neck and neck," airport director Doug Kimmel said. 

Five different airline companies are proposing why they should be picked to fly out of Veterans Airport. 

"It hasn’t always been that way so it shows that our market potential is being recognized by airlines," Kimmel said. "We’re in a good position to have the interest we have had with the five proposals."

Cape Air executives made their pitch to residents in southern Illinois on Tuesday. 

Chief Executive Officer and founder of Cape Air, Dan Wolf said if his company is chosen, they are looking into adding flights to Nashville International Airport. 

"Making this part of Illinois even more accessible to the rest of the world," Wolf said. "Nashville as a destinations is awesome. Everybody knows about the food there, the music and it’s becoming a world-wide destination."

Currently Cape Air flies 36 times a week to St. Louis, but two other options are to split those flights between St. Louis and Nashville. 

Those options are 29 flights to St. Louis and seven to Nashville; or 24 flights to St. Louis and 12 to Nashville.

Besides the added city, passengers would be flying on new planes. 

"It’s more powerful, has more room and it’s got one more seat than our current airplane," Wolf said. "It’s just going to be a home run for a lot of the little communities that we serve."

Wolf said over the next five to eight years, the company will be replacing all 90 of their airplanes with the new models.

Airport officials aren’t the only ones deciding which airline company will serve our area, you have a say as well by completing an online survey. 

"This is a community driven program and this subsidy exist to meet the needs of community throughout our region," Kimmel said. 

Last Thursday, SkyWest presented its proposal with flights to Chicago. 

The other airlines competing are Air Choice One, Boutique Air and Southern Airways Express. 

"When you look at the five, the two are really the most viable are Cape Air and SkyWest airlines," Kimmel said. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation extended the deadline of survey to August 8. 

Kimmel said they should know by the end of August which airline company will be providing flights to and from southern Illinois.

You can fill out the survey here or call the airport at 618-993-3353.

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News 3 Staff

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