Aug 22, 2012 at 8:31 am
ST. CLOUD, MN (KNSI) - In just about 48 hours, you should be able to buy an airline ticket flying out of the St. Cloud Regional Airport; we just don't know where that ticket will take you or what airline you will be flying. Not yet anyway. But those questions will be answered Thursday.
"We are going to be announcing we have acquired one of the two types of air service that we are perusing and we will have a representative from the carrier there to make that announcement," Jami Bestgen, a consultant with the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation said.
City and airport officials have been working on landing service to Chicago's O' Hare Airport, and have been in talks with another airline about a leisure travel route. The St. Cloud Times is reporting that tomorrow's announcement will be that St. Cloud has landed air service to Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona.
In the past year, according to Bestgen, the Development Corporation and its leadership energized the fervor to get passenger flights back to the airport, specifically the efforts of one man, Al Kremers.
"He really has helped open doors to both business and leisure travelers to talk about both types of services we are pursuing as well as lending credibility to the process," Bestgen said.
The airport's been all but empty of passenger flights since Delta pulled up stakes and ended their commuter service to MSP back in December 2009. Despite a new $5 million terminal and a $17 million runway and safety upgrade, those flights, along with routes by Sun Country to Las Vegas, have been the best the facility could entice in its nearly 20 year history.
While Bestgen said they're keeping the identity of St. Cloud new air partner under wraps until Thursday, she says flights will start in mid-December and ticket sales will start in a matter of hours.
"They have already outlined a tentative flight schedule and I believe that ticket sales will begin on Thursday," Bestgen said.
In working to bring air service back to St. Cloud the Development Corporation secured more than $6 million in pledges from local companies, all saying they'll support St. Cloud to Chicago flights with ticket dollars. The facility was also dangling more than $1 million in federal and city money, all to help cushion any potential losses for a new carrier. Now they have the first of what Bestgen hopes will be two done deals to put planes in the air from St. Cloud again.
"We've acquired one of the services that we have talked about and that one will be announced on Thursday and we are continuing to pursue the other so hopefully we will have another announcement in short order," Bestgen said.
The announcement will be made at 2 p.m. tomorrow and the public is welcome to attend.