City of Stillwater Approves Service Agreement with American Airlines | News

In partnership with Oklahoma State University, the Stillwater City Council has approved an air services agreement with American Airlines that includes two years of commercial service along with a guaranteed minimum revenue.

OSU and the City of Stillwater would be forced to make up for any losses in American Airlines revenue of up to $2 million a year. The deal is similar to that seen before the pandemic.

“We’re not writing them a check,” Paul Priegel, director of the Stillwater Regional Airport, told the city during Monday’s meeting. “They fly their routes and bill us for any shortages.”

Prior to the pandemic, Priegel said traffic in and out of SWO was increasing. He said there were plans for perhaps larger aircraft and increasing the frequency of flights. He told the city that the airport had money to spare, but when the number of flights started to decline after March 2020, the airport ran out of funds and American Airlines was hit nearly $500,000.

The problems grew when the American almost withdrew from Stillwater. Priegel told the council that operations and overhead have increased due to supply chain issues and fuel costs, and said there are pilot shortages. Priegel said many pilots have been retired during the pandemic, and many pilots flying at regional hubs such as Stillwater have been relocated to larger destinations.

“The community gathered,” Priegel said. “We were able to save our service. It’s substantial to be able to make an agreement that says we’ll be in service for two years.”

The council unanimously agreed and approved the deal, 4-0.

“While it may seem like an expense, it’s really an investment,” said Major Will Joyce.

Councilor Christie Hawkins thanked OSU, which was represented at Monday’s meeting by Joe Weaver, vice president of Administration and Finance. Weaver said the board of regents of OSU A&M approved the memorandum of understanding last week.

In other cases:

• The Council heard a presentation from the Our Daily Bread and City of Stillwater partnership to receive and distribute rent and utility aid. Through two grant phases, the program managed more than $600,000 to residents experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

• The conceptual Husband Street Bike Corridor approved

• Authorized appropriation of funds not exceeding $1,125,000 to initiate deferred maintenance projects.

• Held up by ruling on a dilapidated building in block 2400 of East 12th

• Deferred when discussing a repurposing request at 802 S. Western Rd., 2302 W 8th Ave, and 2324 W 8th Ave.

• An agreement with Clarity LLC’s cable service advanced to second reading

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