Topeka announces flights to Chicago

By Corene Brisendine

Manhattan Regional Airport director Peter Van Kuren said Tuesday he is not worried about United Airlines’ announcement that it will begin offering a flight to Chicago from Topeka’s Forbes Field.

Van Kuren said the Topeka flight, which begins in January, shouldn’t impact Manhattan’s passenger loads, although he said it might help with the ticket price.

Van Kuren said the catchment area for Manhattan Regional Airport is outside Topeka’s catchment area.  As a result, he was not concerned about losing passengers to Topeka’s airport. He was, however, happy that regional passengers have more choices because those choices could lead to more competitive rates in Manhattan.

He said that people from St. Marys or Wamego may opt to fly out of Topeka, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“They very will might do that,” Van Kuren said. “Then it’s up to the air line here to respond to the lower ticket prices. It’s all about the market and competition is good.”

Van Kuren said he could not get the exact number of people in the area who are using the flights to Chicago or the number of people who might travel to Topeka instead.

As for ticket prices, American Eagle, a part of American Airlines, offers two daily flights from Manhattan to Chicago for as low as $281. The flights leave Manhattan at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Embraer regional jet used for the flight holds 50 passengers. Currently, Manhattan doesn’t charge for parking at the airport.

United Airlines will offer daily flights out of Topeka to Chicago for about $218, but Topeka requires $5 parking fee for travelers. The flight, like Manhattan, will hold 50 passengers. The Topeka flights are set to begin Jan.7.

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