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|City, American Eagle announce new flight|
American Eagle Airlines is offering another flight connecting Monroe to Dallas thanks to an incentive package from the city of Monroe.
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and American Eagle officials made the announcement of the additional flight Tuesday during a news conference at Monroe Regional Airport.
"This will be the third jet service, which is very significant for us, especially when you consider all of the challenges that we have with the economy," Mayo said. "Everywhere you look, you have challenges and barriers. We all are aware of the challenges we have, but we also want to talk about the positive things that are going on in the city of Monroe and our region."
"This is one of those positive things," Mayo added.
He said the city of Monroe continues to work with all airlines to ensure the airport not only has business service from Monroe but leisure travel as well.
The city began negotiations with American Eagle Airlines several years ago to restore service to Monroe, Mayo said.
"We put $200,000 on the table and we addressed some landing fees as well," Mayo explained. "To get the third service here in Monroe, we put $15,000 on the table and also we waived the landing fees for six months. We're talking about $28,000 to secure this third additional service to the city of Monroe."
Councilman Ben Katz added, "This is the kind of stimulus that all of us like to see. Our eagle has landed again. It means great things for us and it shows a lot of faith in Monroe that we are the place to be. It shows the mayor has done an awfully good job working with the airlines. We really appreciate the faith that American Airlines has here and we hope that our future is unlimited."
Sheila Snow with Monroe/West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau said the additional flight would help increase the marketability of Monroe and West Monroe.
"At the CVB we strive to market this area for conventions and tourists and business travels," Snow said. "One extra flight just increases this marketability, so we are very excited to have this opportunity to tell others about the neat things that are coming to Monroe."
In the meantime, the city of Monroe continues to work toward beginning construction of a new Monroe Regional Airport terminal.
The new terminal would double the size of the current terminal once it is completed either in 2010 or 2012.
The $31-million new terminal project will remain the city's top priority over the next several years. It is the most expensive project that the city included on its recent wish list for federal funding through the economic stimulus package passed by Congress this week.
Around 100,000 people use the Monroe Regional Airport each year, Mayo said.