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If We Gain Sky West, Could We Lose an Amtrak Train?

1929 Ford Tri-Motor at Quincy Regional Airport
Quincy Regional Airport-Kurt Parsons

By now you have heard that the City of Quincy is reviewing options for air service for Quincy. Basically, it came down to Sky West or Boutique Airlines. The initial choice was Boutique Air but the City Council had second thoughts and has recommended Sky West to the U.S. Department of Transportation for approval. This decision may have other ramifications.

The city feels it will have no problem in getting the 10-thousand boardings it needs to qualify for a $1-million grant from the Federal Government for airport improvements. Meanwhile, Sky West would receive subsidies from the Federal Government in transporting passengers to Chicago daily.

In going with Sky West, the City of Quincy has made it possible to fly to Chicago, but has left the city a void with no air service to St. Louis. You may ask why not have Cape Air continue, or have Boutique Airlines or another airline provide flights to St. Louis as well? It is possible, but highly unlikely since those potential St. Louis flights would not be subsidized at all, meaning ticket prices will most likely escalate making it unattractive to fliers. So, at least initially, there will be no flights to St. Louis at all if Sky West takes over.

What seems to be lost in all this is the possibility of the loss of Quincy’s second Amtrak train. Simply put, if more people are flying to Chicago, then less people will be taking the train.  Just a few years ago, Amtrak was looking at cutting one of Quincy’s trains to Chicago. If ridership begins to suffer, it may well happen. Maybe it’s time to look at Amtrak to St. Louis? And that’s the way I see it.

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