For the first time, air service outside Wichita will receive funding from the state’s affordable airfares program.
The Regional Economic Area Partnership today approved funding for airline service from Garden City and from Wichita.
REAP approved Sedgwick County’s proposal for Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport for $4.75 million in funding and $250,000 for the Garden City Regional Airport.
The Kansas Legislature approved $5 million in funding during the 2011 session.
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The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County will make up the $250,000 difference in the money that will go to Garden City, REAP officials said.
Garden City’s proposal includes a partnership with Dodge City, 50 miles away. The money will let the airport initiate commercial jet service to Dallas and serve a population of about 440,000 people. The money is contingent upon a plan to obtain jet service through American Eagle.
For its part, Dodge City will designate $1 million of its annual federal emergency air service funding to support the Garden City regional airport. The Dodge City airport will continue to operate, but it will not offer any commercial air service.
“This new innovative regional partnership will bring significant economic rewards to southwest Kansas, which in turn will benefit the entire state and strengthen Kansas’ ability to remain globally competitive,” REAP chair Kristey Williams said in a statement. Williams is also mayor of Augusta.
Kansas Rep. Reynaldo Mesa (R-Garden City) praised the partnership and the funding.
“The creation of a regional airport will bring major economic benefits to our region, which in turn strengthens the economy of the entire state,” Mesa said in a statement.