QUINCY -- Cape Air officials say the airline will end the year with fewer than 10,000 boardings, but with the possibility of other funding and new flight options on the horizon.
Erin Hatzell, Midwest marketing manager at Cape Air, said there were 7,314 boardings from Quincy to St. Louis at Quincy Regional Airport through the end of November. There won't be enough boardings this month to hit the 10,000 passenger threshold that guarantees the airport $1 million in U.S. Department of Transportation funding.
Airport Manager Terrance Ward said the city got $1 million this year, even though the city fell short of the threshold last year. Congress passed an FAA funding bill with a waiver for airports that had previously met the boarding requirement. Some federal officials say a similar waiver might be proposed for next year.
Hatzell said passenger numbers may have declined because of low gas prices. She said the airline offers $49 tickets and a speedy security check, free parking, baggage agreements with partnering airlines, and a shuttle to help passengers in Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
Hatzell said Cape Air officials continue to work on adding daily flights to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in about a year.
"Our team is actively looking at that. That was requested by the Quincy market, and we're trying to get it," she said.
Cape Air also is holding a food and toy drive at all its airports in the Midwest. The airline will accept nonperishable canned goods, dry goods and toys through Wednesday. People who donate will be entered to win two round-trip tickets on Cape Air. All items will be donated to local food banks and charities.
"Now more than ever, we need to work together to strengthen and build our communities by helping those in need," Cape Air President Linda Markham said. "Our goal is to make the holidays brighter for as many families as we can in the communities that we live in and serve."