Cape airport experiences upward trend, on pace for 8,000 enplanements

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport was heading in a good direction.

Boardings hit the 10,000 mark, a benchmark for it to receive $1 million in Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement grant funds. The switch to SkyWest Airlines and its flights to Chicago led to more travelers choosing to fly out of Cape Girardeau.

Then the pandemic effectively shut down travel for an extended period.

But a recent Southeast Missourian story reported travel from the Cape Girardeau airport is making a comeback. Enplanements year-to-date are at 5,121, and airport manager Katrina Amos said the final number for 2021 could reach 8,000 ó surpassing an earlier projection of 7,400. Thatís important not only because of the positive trend, but Amos said it would make the airport eligible to receive a $600,000 federal grant.

Certainly having the flights to Chicago as compared to previous flights to St. Louis have been a big win. In 2017, the last year Cape Air operated flights out of Cape Girardeau to St. Louis, enplanements totaled 5,309. (That total was only for 11 months as Cape Air ceased operations at the end of November.) And part of the challenge with Cape Air, according to Amos, was capacity. Not only does the current air travel partner SkyWest Airlines solve the capacity issue, but the flights to Chicago appear to be more useful for travelers.

The Cape Girardeau Regional Airport is important to our local economy and provides travelers with helpful options, whether itís a quick trip to Chicago or as part of a connecting flight. Weíre glad to see travel make a rebound.