Boardings for Cape Girardeau-to-St. Louis flights have been markedly increasing during the past two months, according to airport manager Bruce Loy.
"We were up 24 percent in November and 17 percent in December," said Loy.
Like most airports in the United States, Cape Girardeau's experienced changes following the terrorist attacks. Following an all-time high of 700 boarding passengers in August, the number of travelers dropped to about 500 in September.
But the past two months have made airline operators more optimistic.
"We're rebounding," said Chuck Howell, president of Corporate Airlines.
In the spirit of the nation's swelling patriotism, Howell said Corporate Airlines planes have been repainted as "American Connection" planes.
Corporate Airlines Inc., a Smyrna, Tenn.-based commuter service, offers non-stop flights between St. Louis and five former Trans World Express destinations, including Cape Girardeau and Marion, Ill. It began operations in December 1996.
"We'd like to double our flights to St. Louis from here," Howell said. The airlines is currently making three trips a day. The airline's goal is five to six flights a day.
Howell said that Angie Mayberry had been named general manager of Corporate Airlines at Cape Girardeau. Mayberry, of Jackson, worked with the former Trans World Express and has four years experience in the airline industry.
Renaissance Aircraft is also moving ahead in its business at the airport, said John Dearden, president of the company. Its new manufacturing facility at the airport is expected to be ready by spring.
The company currently has 25 employees working on planes in four locations.
"We're in production now," Dearden said. Workers are using a couple of airport hangars, a structure along Nash Road and one structure across Interstate 55 from the airport.
The first Renaissance 8F is expected to be ready by the end of this month.
Renaissance plans to manufacture the Renaissance 8F, a two-seater plane that will be marketed to recreational pilots. Each plane will cost between $75,000 and $100,000, depending on the number of optional features.
Within two years, the company expects to employ more than 200 workers in Cape Girardeau, Dearden said.