Two airlines present their proposals to Quincy residents

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Both airlines, Boutique Air and Southern Airways Express said they’ll have flights leaving from Quincy Regional Airport going to Chicago and St. Louis.

Boutique Air Vice President Brian Kondrad said they’ll offer a two-year contract with 36 weekly trips, 18 to Chicago O’Hare and 18 to St. Louis International, on a single-engine plane that can seat at least eight.

“Our option provides the community with a fast reliable aircraft,” Kondrad said. “We can get the community to Chicago in about 35 minutes and to St. Louis in about 20 to 25 minutes in a pressurized faster aircraft than the competitor.”

He said they have an almost 98% completion rate, with a codeshare with United, where you can collect miles by booking with them and an interline agreement with American, which allows you to fly between airlines without having to re-claim luggage.

“Most airlines are happy if they have 97 or 98 percent completion, our completion rate is 99.3. When you’re the only airline in town, being reliable isn’t an important thing,” Southern Airways Express Chief Commercial Officer Mark Cestari said. “It’s the only thing that really matters. And for those of you that have been displaced of flights as I have been frequently lately, it’s not a good thing.”

Cestari said they’re offering two, 4-year contracts on a single-engine plane that can seat at least nine. One with 24 round trips to St. Louis that’ll take 45 minutes and 12 to Chicago that’ll take an hour and a half and another contract with 18 round trips to both. He said they don’t offer any codeshares but have three interlines and are working on another with delta.

Both said they’re offering flights ranging from $39 to $89 dollars.

City officials said the U.S. Department of Transportation Essential Air Service Program makes this possible by ensuring small cities, like Quincy, maintain a minimal level of scheduled air services through subsidies.

“The second proposal, if his statistics are correct, that’s the right airline we need,” Quincy resident Steve Hagood said.

“I asked them both. Both of the presenters. How can I guarantee you stand behind your product? Because if you don’t stand behind it, why should I and they both gave me a good answer to that,” Travel House Owner and Travel Agent Mecki Kosin said. “I’ll have to sleep on this and regurgitate it all and digest it and then tomorrow I’ll talk to a few more people and we’ll see what happens.”

Now, this is all still in the discussion phase. The Quincy aeronautics committee will meet again on Wednesday, August 3 at 4:30 p.m. at city hall to make their recommendation. Then the city council will choose.

Right now, Cape Air services the Quincy Regional Airport.

The aeronautics committee said Cape Air has changed its schedule to 12 round trips a week: Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays to St. Louis and to Chicago on the other days of the week. They said Cape Air can make more changes until the city selects another airline to replace them.

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