Community reacts to airline proposals for Mason City Municipal Airport

It’s a story we first told you about last night. Two airlines have submitted proposals to serve the Mason City Municipal Airport.

This comes after Great Lakes Airlines suspended their service at the end of January.

Today we’re hearing from airport officials as well as people in the community who have been impacted by the lack of air services in the area.

For about a month now, this is what the airport’s terminal has looked like… empty.

And not having air service in the area has been affecting many people and businesses that rely on flights coming in and out.

“We do have quite a few guests who do fly in.”

The Historic Park Inn is a tourist destination that draws people from all across the world and without air service in Mason City, hotel guest are having to drive up from Des Moines or down from Minneapolis.

“They might not even decide to come to Mason City, they might decide to stay up in Minneapolis or down in Des Moines and then drive up the day of their meeting, you know they might not want to drive at night they might want to just wait until morning so yes, I do think it’s impacting our business a little bit,” say the hotel’s General Manager, Tracy Knebel.

But there could be some changes taking flight as two airlines have submitted proposals to serve the airport.

One of those is Great Lakes Airline, which suspended it’s service earlier this year in part due to a pilot shortage.

The other is from Air Choice One, which would provide service to Chicago and St. Louis.

“This is a very critical time at the airport.”

Now that proposals have been made the next step is getting the public’s opinion.

“We certainly want our community members and all the citizens to be involved in the process,” says Airport Manager, Pam Osgood.

The final decision on which airline if any will take over will be up to the Federal Aviation Administration, but Osgood says they weigh heavily on the community’s input.

“We do also have people coming from all over the country and it would be really nice to have them be able to fly right into Mason City and then we can pick them up at the airport and drive them back here to the hotel,” says Knebel.

“It’s critical to have air service here in Mason City. Especially for the economic development element of the airport and the region to attraction businesses and so it’s absolutely vital that we are able to return service to our area,” adds Osgood.

The Mason City Airport Commission will make recommendation to the FAA. which is why the commission wants to hear from the public about which airline if any they think will be best. They will be holding a meeting, which is open to the public on March 10th.

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