Stillwater to Retain Air Service
Mike Seals - September 13, 2020 10:49 pm
(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / September 11, 2020) – Your voices have been heard. American Airlines has reversed their previous decision to suspend flights at Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO). This means that fliers will not see any interruption to service in October.
Several weeks ago, American Airlines announced that it planned to suspend SWO’s air service from Oct. 7 to Nov. 3. SWO was one of 15 airports nationwide selected by the airline for suspended service. According to American, the decision was based on low advanced booking numbers and the approaching expiration of federal funding that was provided to airlines back in March. This funding, known as the Payroll Support Program (PSP), came as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The goal of this program was to help airlines protect employees and maintain service as they recovered from the negative impacts of COVID-19.
After receiving the news that SWO’s flights were going to be suspended, the Stillwater community rallied together to show their support. Many people reached out to Oklahoma’s congress members and urged them to continue to provide financial relief for the aviation industry.
One of the people who reached out on the airport’s behalf was Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce. “Commercial air service is an incredible asset for the City of Stillwater and we are all very thankful to have such a supportive community,” Joyce said. “It has really made a difference.”
After several weeks of outreach from the Stillwater community and the expressed support of Representative Lucas, Senator Inhofe, and Senator Lankford, American Airlines began a conversation with the airport’s administration about how they could preserve SWO’s air service.
Airport Director Paul Priegel says that this is a good sign. “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.”
City Manager Norman McNickle says the City is more than happy with the news. “Maintaining air service in Stillwater, even if it is just a few flights, is the best way to protect our community’s investment.”
Although SWO has succeeded in maintaining air service, 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.
“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,” Priegel said. “If you’re planning on traveling for the holidays, now’s the time to book. Rates are at an all-time low and American Airlines is offering more flexibility than ever before to help passengers book confidently.”
Passengers who do choose to fly during this time will still need to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions put into place by Stillwater Regional Airport, American Airlines, Dallas Fort-Worth Airport, and the Transportation Security Administration.
Although 2020 has presented several challenges, the team at SWO continues to work on improvements to the airport and its facilities. In June, the airport celebrated the completion of a parallel taxiway system for their main runway. The airport quickly followed with the reopening of their newly rehabilitated Runway 04-22 in August. As passenger numbers begin to recover, SWO looks forward to the future and remains dedicated to finding new ways to grow.
Read more about the airport at flystillwaterok.com. To book flights, use airport code SWO at aa.com.