MIT Study Cautions Small Community Airport Expansion
Columbia and Kansas City have been busy planning airport expansions and hoping to attract new service to their cities. A new study by the MIT International Center for Air Transportation suggests this might not be such a great idea.
The headline? The near future of all air service is looking grim. Airlines continue to consolidate service at their largest hubs, consolidate with each other, and will continue further reductions at small community airports.
Columbia has felt this decline over the past several months, and the final Frontier Airlines flight from Columbia took off for Orlando, Fla., on Monday. Columbia is not alone. Data in the MIT study shows that Missouri airports, along with almost every other airport in the country, have lost service over the past five years.
This data shows us that the fate of air travel is not dependent on how shiny your airport is. Airlines have shifted away from capacity expansion because it was not a profitable strategy. They will continue to seek ways to maximize profits; unfortunately, small- and medium-sized airports are disproportionally affected in the process.