Q: Is there potential for a flight service to Denver from Manhattan Regional Airport?

A: Manhattanites hoping to catch a flight west from the local airport won’t be able to any time soon. Jesse Romo, director of the Manhattan Regional Airport, said expanding flight service to the Mile-High City is “tricky.”

“Typically, we can pull reports of all the people flying from our region to show where they like to fly,” Romo said in an email to The Mercury. “However, with Denver, most people aren’t flying — but driving — and it’s very hard to quantify the exact market demand.”

Romo said there are many metrics that airlines consider when expanding service.

“Air service is a long-term effort and we’re continuing to talk to airlines — including American — about expanding service,” Romo said. “Ultimately, it’s the airlines’ decision to enter a new market or not.”

Salina Regional Airport is the closest airport to Manhattan that offers round trips to Denver.

Romo said airlines’ metrics include load factor, which is the amount, or percentage, of seats sold on an aircraft.

“If we can get closer to 80%, we’re demonstrating how strong our market is and how well we can sustain additional capacity,” Romo said. “Our load factors (are) consistently around 73%, which makes us a pretty solid market.”

Because of this consistency, American Airlines expanded the Manhattan airport’s service with more flights to Chicago and a bigger plane for flights to Dallas.

“We’ll continue to try for more service, but the best way everyone can help us build our arguments is to utilize the service we have,” Romo said. “We’ve had two consecutive years of record enplanements, and we need to keep that up, especially as we’ve added capacity to our current destinations.”

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