MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- On the heels of a multi-million dollar upgrade, the Manhattan Regional Airport is looking at even more improvements.
ExpressJet Airlines, on behalf of American Airlines will soon be landing larger CR7 planes at the airport. Manhattan’s city commissioners approved the move this week.
“At this time if the corporation of American Airlines is ready to come to the table and we’re ready to come to the table, we may not get that chance again. It just so happens that all the positive factors are right there,” said Manhattan Mayor Usha Reddi.
Starting May 5, two 65-seat planes with a first class option and larger overhead compartments will be used on the airport’s three daily flights to Dallas-Fort Worth.
The introduction of larger aircraft at the airport also means more security upgrades to comply with TSA measures.
According to Manhattan Regional Airport director Jesse Romo, the airport complies with “eight different federal programs for security.”
Upgrading to 65-seat planes requires the airport to comply with a total of 21 security measures.
“If the airport has to do certain functions 24/7, it requires additional staff,” said Romo.
Romo says new security upgrades carry a price tag of over $300,000 a year for additional staffing including seven new airport employees, an airport security supervisor and a contracted security team.
In the long run, officials say the airplane upgrade is inevitable.
“The smaller air crafts that we’re using now are being decommissioned because of age, so whether it’s today or not, it’s going to happen,” said airport advisory board member Richard Jankovich.
Manhattan City Commissioners are currently discussing funding options for the security upgrades and plan on engaging the community for feedback of funding the project going forward.
“We’ll have more community input, it’s going to be transparent. We want the community to be highly engaged in this process,” said Reddi.
Manhattan Regional Airport is currently hiring to fill the positions needed for the increase in security. Job descriptions are listed at cityofmhk.com.
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