Little impact seen on local airport

By Bryan Richardson

Manhattan Regional Airport officials aren’t expecting a significant increase in customers after the cancellation of Chicago flights from Topeka.

United Airlines’ twice-daily flights between Topeka and Chicago, which started Jan. 7, will end on Sept. 2 due to a lack of sales, airport officials announced Wednesday (Wire story, Page A3).

Manhattan Regional Airport director Peter Van Kuren said the Manhattan airport has seen “little to no” impact in the numbers for its American Eagle flights to Chicago since the Topeka flights started.

“We didn’t see any indication that travelers from our catchment area went to Topeka to use their United services,” he said.

Van Kuren said Manhattan remains an option for those around the Topeka area.

“I hope that folks who reside in Topeka and are looking for an alternative to driving out of state would come to Manhattan Regional Airport,” he said.

Van Kuren said he knows Topeka worked very hard to get the United flights.

“You hate to hear about services being discontinued in any community because it has an impact on travelers,” he said.

Manhattan Regional Airport experienced this situation this year when Allegiant Air, which began offering flights to Phoenix on Nov. 7, 2013, ended the service on Feb. 23 due to a lack of sales.

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