Federal Grant Could Bring Commercial Airlines To Stillwater Airport

Wednesday, October 16th 2013, 6:44 pm
By: Craig Day

A nearly $500,000 federal grant will be used to help get air service between Stillwater and Dallas-Fort Worth international airport off the ground.

It could mean more convenience for travelers and enhance economic development.

Right now, 61 percent of travelers in the Stillwater area fly out of Oklahoma City; 21 percent from Tulsa International Airport. The rest drive to Wichita or other locations. Although it's the fifth busiest airport in Oklahoma, you usually see small planes at Stillwater Regional, but that could soon change.

The city is getting a $447,000 federal grant through the Small Community Air Service Development program.

It's exciting news for Stillwater resident Tom Dugger.

"I think it has real potential," Dugger said.

The grant money will be used to help establish commercial air service between Stillwater and Dallas. It would mean more convenience for the estimated 195,000 potential travelers in and around Stillwater.

Stillwater Chamber CEO Lisa Navrkal said it means, "Leaving early to make sure you arrive at the airport, versus traveling five to 10 minutes to get to the Stillwater airport and being able to fly right out."

Navrkal said it would also help with economic development.

"[This] will be beneficial, not only for Oklahoma State University, but our businesses, for parents flying in to attend events at the university. It really just opens us up globally," Navrkal said.

Improvements will have to be made to the terminal, but the 7,400-foot runway is already long enough for big jets.

Flights would likely cost $25 to $50 more than flying from Tulsa or Oklahoma City, but Dugger said that's easily offset by not having to pay other costs.

"I think you'd save that on gas and parking if you put the two together, if you're going to be gone for a few days," Dugger said.

The first step is contracting with an airline to provide flights. Stillwater and OSU are partnering to meet any minimum revenue guarantee a prospective airline might require.

A recent survey of business travelers showed Dallas-Fort Worth as the most favorable destination from Stillwater, followed by Denver, Atlanta and Chicago.