Oct 122020

The Columbia Rotary Club hosted the Columbia Metropolitan Airport at its Monday September 28th luncheon meeting to hear how COVID-19 has affected the airline industry and how the community can support the airport during these difficult times. The Club welcomed Michael Gula, Executive Director, and Kim Jamieson, Director of Marketing and Air Service Development. Our visitors opened their presentation by highlighting the airport’s tremendous accomplishments in 2019. The airport saw a 13% increase in overall passenger traffic year over year (the industry average was just 3.9%); nonstop service to NYC and Miami was added; and green energy initiatives generated over $430,000 worth of energy savings. Fresh off their landmark year, CAE unveiled a new brand campaign in 2020 “New Year. New Look. New Opportunities to Travel.” which included a new logo and many upcoming developments for the airport. When COVID-19 came, the airport quickly pivoted its marketing messages to discuss their updated and ongoing cleaning efforts and responses to state and local officials on the pandemic. The airport was active on social media, highlighting its team members working countless hours to keep the airport a clean and healthy environment.  Tying into their new motto “Stay in now and plan to fly out later”, CAE ran a giveaway for two tickets to use in later months. In the months since March, air travel has been hit very hard, with worldwide air travel down 95% in April; globally the aviation industry has lost $84 billion since March. CAE is projected to lose $8 million in revenue as a result, with airline revenue down 31%. In the recent months, the airport has been focusing on getting service fully restored and continuing to add safety measures. They are also restarting talks with low-cost carriers to hopefully add a line to the airport. The message the airport wanted to leave the Club with was this: please always consider CAE for your air travel needs. They recognize they are not always the most affordable option, but they implored us to keep our dollars local by flying local. You can watch their whole presentation here: https://columbiarotaryclub.org/2020/09/30/monday-sept-28th-2020-transcripts-available/ 

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