LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The La Crosse Regional Airport hopes its connections with area businesses will bring more flight options and cheaper fares.
Area businesses, including both La Crosse health systems and Logistics Health Inc., commit to using the local airport through the LSE Leaders program.
Airport director Clinton Torp said that kind of support is bringing bigger planes with more seats next year and potentially a new destination down the road.
About a year after the LSE Leaders program took off, more than 30 area businesses have come onboard.
Despite a slight decrease in passenger numbers this year, Torp said starting in January, American Airlines will soon use larger planes for two of its flights, bringing 26 additional seats per day.
"We're not seeing any growth because we don't have any additional seats to fill,” he said. “We hope with an additional 26 seats per day with American flights, we’ll be able to increase the number of passengers coming through.”
Torp said business support helped drive that growth.
“That wouldn't be possible if we weren't filling aircraft to the level we are,” he said, adding that the additional American Airline seats will make more discounted fares available.
La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vicki Markussen said businesses find plenty of benefits flying locally, including convenience. But there are barriers, like missed connection flights when they occur.
"The more we can remove the barriers to flying local, the more successful our local airports will be, and then the more flights we'll attract,” Markussen said.
Area businesses recently wrote letters of support as the airport applies for a grant to land an additional destination.
"We're all in this together,” Markussen said. “The more we can help build a great airport, whether it's business or leisure travel, it all adds up to adding flights and convenience and reducing costs."
Though it's still up in the air, the airport is vying for an eastbound service, likely to Detroit. Torp hopes the LSE leaders will help get them there.
"We're here to get people where they want to go, and the more flight options makes that easier,” he said.
The airport is always looking for more businesses to join the LSE leaders program. More information can be found here.
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