An air service agreement was passed during Tuesday night’s Manhattan City Commission meeting at City Hall. According to the terms American Airlines will bring in a larger aircraft to service the area, and will receive $75,000 if passengers fall below %80 in its Dallas-Fort Worth flights for the month. The agreement will use a state fund of one million dollars, and will not directly impact the city budget.
The agreement was passed alongside what supporters are calling an aggressive marketing campaign using funds set aside with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. The $250,000 will be leveraged to bring in more consumers from the regional area. According to research regional customers are using KCI over MHK, and officials are wanting to put out the word on improvements to MHK to the public.
Mayor Wynn Butler was adamant in pointing out that the funds going into the agreement were either already set aside, or from the state funds and would in no way infringe on the current city budget.
Commissioner Karen McCulloh was not swayed by the presentation, and wondered why the airport should be getting even more funding while issues like mental health languished on the sidelines. McCulloh pointed out that the fares out of MHK were sometimes double the amount of money when compared to flights out of KCI.
Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce President Lyle Butler said the airport is a key component for future business and development in the area, and appreciates the opportunity the airport provides to the local business communities.
The commission discussed working closely with other local institutions like Fort Riley to facilitate higher market penetration.
The agreement passed with a three to one vote from the commission. Commissioner Karen McCulloh cast the dissenting vote.