Sunday, February 7, 2016

OUR VIEW: We’re joining the jet set

“A game-changer.”

“A whole new league.”

“A connection to the world.”

We’re going to be hearing that one for a while.

A shared project between Oklahoma State University, American Airlines and Stillwater Regional Airport (KSWO) is sending planes from The Plains to Dallas/Fort Worth.

Not only does it mean we’ll be able to fly out of Stillwater to international destinations, it is a smaller but no less important connection to the many OSU alumni that reside in north Texas.

We must be grateful for the very large part Oklahoma State played in making this a reality. The university is not only a large financial catalyst, but will also be the reason for most of the tourism we can expect.

Athletic events, those too, could see better attendance, which in turn would mean more shopping and dining in Stillwater.

It also may be the deciding factor for someone to visit Stillwater, including dignitaries or industry. The folks here who work in tourism and economic development have said that often when they pitch Stillwater to outsiders they get the same question, “Do you have direct air service?” People will pay for convenience.

We can’t really see a downside to this new service. There may be some concern about price, but when you factor in additional travel and parking fees to surrounding airports, the value will be there.

Imagine not having to show up hours before your flight. It may be worth it just to have more of your day to yourself.

Now it will be our responsibility, as consumers, to use this service. The onus is on us to keep up the momentum and to keep this service in business. It fits into our mantra of “shop local.” Why do you always hear that? Why is that important? It’s the reason we can have nice things. If you like our revitalized downtown area, you have to patronize those businesses. The same goes for the airport. If you like all the things that come with having commercial flights in our city, you need to take advantage of the service.

Thanks to American Airlines for taking a chance on us. For Burns Hargis and OSU leadership for having the courage to “put our money where our mouth is.” For Stillwater Regional Airport director Gary Johnson for keeping this torch burning as long as he did. There are too many people to thank, politicians among them, so maybe let’s cut it off there and say, “Outstanding job, everybody.”

Original article can be found here: http://www.stwnewspress.com/opinion

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