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American Airlines will keep Stillwater route

American Airlines has reversed its decision to suspend flights to Stillwater Regional Airport. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]
American Airlines has reversed its decision to suspend flights to Stillwater Regional Airport. [THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES]

Less than a month after American Airlines said it would halt commercial passenger service to Stillwater Regional Airport, the carrier has changed its mind.

City officials and members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation praised both the company and members of the community who reached out in a bid to save the daily flights between Stillwater and Dallas.

“We have shown American Airlines that we truly value their partnership and, by agreeing to work with us on our upcoming flight schedule, American Airlines has shown us that they value our partnership as well," said Airport Director Paul Priegel.

American Airlines announced last month that it would suspend flights to 15 cities starting in October, when federal coronavirus relief funding expires. That funding included a mandate that air carriers continue existing routes. Their decision was also based on low advance booking numbers.

“The main thing our community can do to help preserve our air service now and beyond is to show American Airlines that we need our flights,” said Priegel, who noted that airlines are offering low rates and improved flexibility when booking a trip.

Priegel emphasized that the airport still needs the support of the community to thrive. The aviation industry continues to feel the negative effects of COVID-19 and it could be several years before it fully recovers.

American may decide to reduce the number of flights between Stillwater and Dallas as part of its promise to retain service to the city.

“Maintaining air service in Stillwater, even if it is just a few flights, is the best way to protect our community’s investment," said City Manager Norman McNickle.

Since the introduction of commercial air service in 2016, Stillwater’s airport has seen continuous growth, Priegel added. In 2019, the airport served a record-breaking number of over 58,000 passengers and saw an 8% increase in passengers. Due to that demand, the airport has begun several major airport construction projects, including a three-phase apron reconstruction project and a recently completed parallel taxiway system.

Dale Denwalt

Dale Denwalt has closely followed state policy and politics since his first internship as an Oklahoma Capitol reporter in 2006. He graduated from Northeastern State University in his hometown of Tahlequah. Denwalt worked as a news reporter in... Read more ›