DECATUR — Cape Air will start service at Decatur Airport on Feb. 14 and passengers are now able to reserve tickets for year-round flights to Chicago and St. Louis, the company announced Thursday.
"As Decatur’s new carrier, we look forward to providing both reliable and affordable air service as well as building strong and lasting relationships with our passengers and community leaders," said Cape Air President Linda Markham in a statement.
Fares to St. Louis Lambert International Airport will start from $29 each way and fares to Chicago will start from $59 each way.
The schedule for Cape Air flights out of Decatur Airport is:
- Decatur to Chicago: Four daily, round-trip flights weekdays
- Decatur to Chicago: Two daily, round-trip flights weekends
- Decatur to St. Louis: Two daily, round-trip flights weekdays
- Decatur to St. Louis: One daily, round-trip flight weekends
Cape Air, based in Hyannis, Massachusetts, was selected as the next air service provider for Decatur Airport by the Department of Transportation on Dec. 21. The airline will replace Missouri-based Air Choice One, which has served as the city's commercial air carrier since late 2009. The Department of Transportation chooses Decatur’s airline because its air service is subsidized through the Essential Air Service program.
On Nov. 3, the Decatur Park District, which operates the airport, initially voted 3-2 to recommend Cape Air as the city's EAS provider to the federal department. The board changed course on Nov. 15 and voted 3-2 in favor of SkyWest Airlines, after appeals from Archer Daniels Midland Co. and other business that favored its proposal to bring jet service to the community.
Despite the park board's recommendation and the community's support of SkyWest, the Department of Transportation awarded Cape Air a two-year contact for service at Decatur Airport. The department said SkyWest would have cost $700,000 more in federal subsidies than Cape Air, which was a cost that it said was not feasible.
Utah-based SkyWest filed a petition Tuesday asking the Department of Transportation to reconsider its decision to award the contract to Cape Air.
In its petition, the company argued that the department didn't give enough consideration to the preference of the park board and community and that SkyWest required a lower subsidy per passenger even though it was asking for more money though the life of the contract.
Unless the federal department changes its decision, the petition will not not stop Cape Air from starting service in Decatur, according to Airport Director Tim Wright. "Everybody's still waiting to see the review from the DOT," he said. "We haven't heard anything from them yet."