By Stephen Largen
Monroe News Star
August 17, 2010
could have direct commercial flights to and from Denver
if the Monroe Chamber of Commerce gets its wish.
chamber is interested in service to
because of anticipated increased demand resulting from
Monroe-based CenturyLink’s acquisition of Denver-based Qwest
CenturyLink, Monroe’s signature company and one of Fortune 500’s largest
companies, announced it would acquire Qwest earlier this year.
The companies anticipate closing the transaction in the first
half of 2011.
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Nicholson said the
chamber will talk to the airport’s current carriers about the
possibility of a Denver
flight but also would be open to adding another carrier, such as
Denver-based Frontier Airlines, that provides direct service to
and from Denver.
representatives asked U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., on her
Monday swing through Monroe for
any help she could provide in pursuing the
Landrieu, the chair of the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee,
said in a Monday meeting with The News-Star’s editorial board
she is willing to help the airport pursue the new flights.
Manager Cleve Norrell said getting
service would likely require state funding before the project
can move forward.
Norrell said the flights
could be offered daily or just a few times per week, depending
noted that the city successfully used subsidies and grants from
the government to reacquire direct American Airlines flights to Dallas that had been lost in the late 1990s.
“One of the issues that
smaller communities like ours have is access to direct flights,”
“So initial grants and
subsidies could help.”
currently offers commercial flights to regional hubs in
Goff, CenturyLink’s executive vice president, general counsel
and secretary, said increased employee traffic to and from
could benefit all airport customers.
“Consistent, reliable and affordable commercial air service to
and from Monroe is very important for CenturyLink,”
Denver to be a
frequent destination as we move toward completion of the Qwest
transaction, our employees routinely travel to each of the 33
states we serve. We hope that any increased volume that is
driven by our company will lead to cheaper, more reliable
service for everyone flying into and out of Monroe.”
CenturyLink already flies
company-owned planes out of Monroe Regional to and from regional
company currently runs a shuttle between
Monroe and Kansas City, the home of the former Embarq Corp. acquired
by CenuryLink in 2009, and expects to add a shuttle to Denver in the coming weeks, Goff said.