At Monday night’s city council meeting, council members unanimously voted to approve an agreement between Joplin and American Airlines for air service between Joplin Regional Airport (JLN) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Those flights will start on June 6th using 50-seat-passenger regional jets.
The agreement lasts one-year and the airport must sign a minimum revenue guarantee of $600,000. The city will be responsible for $400,000 of that with it being split evenly between the Transportation Sales Tax Fund Balance and the Convention and Visitor Bureau Fund Balance. The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (JACC) Foundation will cover the other $200,000.
The first flight would leave Joplin at 5:44 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 7:44 a.m. This flight is offered daily. Another flight would leave Chicago at 11:50 a.m. and get to Joplin at 1:15 p.m. The second flight to leave Joplin would depart at 2:15 p.m and arrive in Chicago at 4:20 p.m. These two flights will be offered daily except Saturday. The last flight, which is offered daily, would depart Chicago at 8:15 p.m and get to Joplin at 10:05 p.m.
“This isn’t just about Chicago, this is what’s behind Chicago. This puts Joplin in directly to and from several more markets,” said new JACC President Toby Teeter.
Councilman Phil Stinnett noted that he is in favor of the idea but not the way it is being funded. “I would propose we take 400,000 out of the community development fund. I don’t see why we couldn’t use those funds.”
City Manager Sam Anselm says they could further research other funding sources for the agreement, other council members agreed upon.
Officials estimate an additional 48,000 in and out customers to Joplin Regional Aiport a year, resulting in an estimated 15,000 additional overnight room stays from new passengers, resulting in $3 million in impact from those stays.