Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Cape Air kicks off service at Decatur Airport (KDEC)

DECATUR — Cape Air kicked off its service at Decatur Airport on Wednesday with a 7 a.m. departure to St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The airline also provides daily flights to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, both on a twin-engine Cessna that seats nine.  

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded Cape Air a two-year contract in December. The federal agency chooses Decatur’s airline because its air service is subsidized through the Essential Air Service program. 

Aimee Coverstone and her 6-year-old granddaughter, Kylie, were on the first flight. The Decatur residents had never flown out of Decatur Airport before Wednesday, and had not been following the Essential Air Service decision closely.

When the plane touched down in St. Louis, Aimee Coverstone said the experience was quick and easy and she complimented the Cape Air staff.

“It was a much smaller aircraft than I thought, but the flight was fine,” Aimee Coverstone said.

With a thumbs up and a smile, Kylie Coverstone agreed.

The Department of Transportation chose Cape Air over SkyWest, the Utah-based airline preferred by the Decatur Park District and several key business leaders — especially Archer Daniels Midland Co. The department had said the jet service would cost $700,000 more to subsidize.

Air Choice One has been the airport's commercial air carrier since late 2009, but the park board did not support its bid to continue.

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