The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 22, 2012

Joplin Regional Airport seeks more flights

JOPLIN, Mo. — Adding two flights a day to Chicago is the goal of Steve Stockam, manager of the Joplin Regional Airport, if American Airlines overcomes a couple of challenges.

Stockam says American Eagle service has high passenger counts, and he believes those would more than double — from 53,000 a year to 115,000 — if flights to Chicago were added.

Stockam is preparing to go through what has become the biannual bidding for the Essential Air Service program. EAS is a federal program that subsidizes airlines to provide service to rural airports that have long had airplane transportation but have lost it because of complications such as economic factors.

The bidding procedure will open in late August or early September, Stockam said.

“They will make a decision by the first of the year, and the (current) contract is up the first of February,” he said. “We anticipate American is going to bid, and we want to support them in that bid.”

Joplin’s load factor has climbed to 81 percent occupancy of the 44 seats available on two flights a day to the Dallas airport.

“Typically, the airlines want to see something over 70 percent. An 80 percent or in excess of 80 percent load factor is obviously something that is very good,” Stockam said. “From that standpoint, American Airlines, in our discussions with them, have been very, very pleased with Joplin.”

There have been periods when the passenger count has been even higher. Tickets were oversold over traditional spring break weeks in March, as well as some weekly Monday and Friday flights as business people have gone on and returned from trips.

That’s why Stockam has proposed an expansion of the service. “We’ve already started the discussion,” he said. “We’ve provided American with the information” on the load factors. “There are two hurdles we have to get through. The EAS bid is No. 1, and No. 2 is their Chapter 11 filing.”

Joplin’s airline is American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, which is owned by AMR Corp. AMR declared bankruptcy in November, and said it intended to reorganize and emerge from financial protection as a stand-alone company. The process has been complicated by an effort by US Airways to merge with AMR.

Stockam said he believes American’s bankruptcy effort will close by the end of the year, which would make way for Joplin to get into serious talks about service changes.

“They have got to really stabilize some of their fleet reorganization: How many planes will we have available? Who’s going to be flying them?” Stockam said. “According to what we understand by the filings, that should be cleared up by the end of the year. Maybe the first quarter of next year we can add additional service or another hub. Those are not definite. They are just part of our discussion with them at this time.”

Stockam said airport surveys show Chicago service as a preference of local passengers.

“As part of our discussions, we have identified a section of the market we are not serving very well, and that is a lot of East Coast cities,” he said. “We polled local residents and businesses, and they have told us the real issue is time. They have got to fly to Dallas and then to Chicago to get to cities on the East Coast.”

He said it takes about 14 extra hours to make that trip.

“What we’ve shown American is if you could put two flights into Chicago, we can double our number of passengers we’re handling out of our facility,” Stockam said.

American also has studied that and has come to the same conclusion on passenger counts, he said.

Mark Norton, manager of Great Southern Travel, 515 E. Seventh St., said the additional service is needed.

Travelers could reach any city they want around the world if they had access to both the Dallas and Chicago airports, Norton said.

“We really need a third flight a day,” he said. “They’re keeping the flights pretty well full. It’s working well now.

“It’s just that we need another flight, but the best thing would be a Chicago hub. They’ve got a lot of service there, and Chicago would have better schedules” than other possible airports.

Stockam will use the numbers to try to persuade the Department of Transportation to let Joplin keep American Eagle as its EAS provider.

“Our stand — and I’ve already told the DOT this — is we’ve started this process,” he said. “We’ve shown this has worked; it has turned the airport around. The bankruptcy has slowed it up a little bit, but we would like another round with American to let that process play out.”

Stockam said American Eagle could lift Joplin off the taxpayer subsidy.

“It could put us out of the EAS program.” he said. “We want that, and DOT wants that. That’s the whole point is getting airports back on their feet and where they can sustain themselves.”


American Airlines receives a federal subsidy of $2,778,256 a year for Joplin service under the Essential Air Service program, according to the Joplin Regional Airport.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pension funding improving, actuary reports

    An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

    April 17, 2014

  • Special counsel to be appointed in ethics complaint against Neosho council members

    The Neosho Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to ask the City Council to appoint a special counsel to provide legal advice to the board’s remaining two members as they investigate a complaint against two members of the council.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Will new Earth-like planet have better cable offerings?

    When I read that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, I had a couple of deep scientific questions. First: What’s the Wi-Fi like? And: Are their TV channels better than ours? Hey, I didn’t get an “Incomplete” in college astronomy for nothing.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christian ministry plans Missouri camp expansion

    A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

    Bills moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • Chairman of Neosho Ethics Board resigns

    The chairman of the Neosho Ethics Board unexpectedly resigned on Thursday as the board investigates a complaint against Neosho City Council members David Ruth and Steve Hart.

    April 17, 2014

  • CWEP receives top honor from national power group

    The Carthage Water and Electric Plant has received the top award for reliable electrical service from the American Public Power Association.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read


Would you use a community safe room when the area is under a tornado warning?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter