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From the Director’s Desk: How to Win Airlines and Influence Routes

February 19, 2021

Quad Cities area road map

When I say I work for the Quad City International Airport, the first question I get is usually the same: “When are we getting fill-in-the-blank route or airline?” I wish the answer to this question was simple. Truth is, there’s a secret sauce to getting new routes and I only have part of the ingredients. The other part lies in the hands of our community.

Putting QC on the map.

When considering new routes, airlines must consider their staffing, availability of aircraft, most popular cities, underserved destinations and a number of other factors. With the help of an air service expert, I meet periodically with airline representatives and we advocate for our community and promote all the Quad Cities have to offer.

Airlines heavily consider regional demand. What facilities or events might benefit from new air service? Think large events like sports, concerts and conferences. That’s where the QC really shines. With the John Deere Classic, the TaxSlayer Center and the gains organizations like the Quad Cities Chamber and Visit Quad Cities are making to bring more tourism and business to the region, we have plenty to brag about.

When you fly QC, you grow QC routes.

The airlines also look at who our passengers are, especially spending habits and where they’re trying to go. That’s where flying local really matters. The more planes we can fill at our airport, the more likely an airline will consider adding service, whether it’s adding another departure for a popular route or adding a new city.

Small airport meeting big needs.

During our meetings with the airlines, we also take the opportunity to show that the Quad Cities International Airport can more than meet their needs. So, what does our airport offer that makes it an attractive option for airlines? We have aircraft amenities like wholesale fuel and plenty of gates. They also appreciate the customer service we offer to passengers, like being able to assist guests with mobility issues on and off the aircraft.

We do our best to advocate for our region and our airport, and hope the airlines see the same opportunities we do. With COVID-19, everyone is thinking creatively about the best path to recovery. Rest assured, we will keep the communication lines open with the airlines to not only restore lost air service but be ready to welcome new service if it’s available. You can help by supporting your hometown airport when you’re ready to fly.

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