Business soars at Garden City airport

GARDEN CITY, Kansas– Garden City has offered twice daily flights to Dallas Fort Worth since 2012.  This year those flights have been 80% full, with enplanements, or ticketed passengers, up from a few years back.

“We used to struggle to get 10,000 enplanements, and now we’re looking at 26,000 enplanements [for 2014] so we’ve improved quite a bit,” said Airport Director Rochelle Powell.

So why is business picking up?

“It’s very handy to come here to the little regional airport and connect to a bigger airport,” said passenger Lamont Koehn, “you can go anywhere from here.”

The majority of passengers are traveling for business, but the reliability of service has helped gain other customers.

“We see families at the airport, which used to be a rarity, but now it’s common place,” said Garden City City Manager Matt Allen.

With more people comes more money for improvements.  If the airport reaches 50,000 passengers annually, they’ll be eligible for $1.5 million in federal funding, and that’s a half a million more than they get right now.  Powell said they’re working with American Airlines to bring an additional flight to the area, which will hopefully drive numbers up even higher.  “With the increase in passengers, we know that we can do a lot more with our air service since we have the support of the community,” she said.

She said they could potentially see an increase in flight options in as early as six months.

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