U-S Airways Express will discontinue service from Des Moines and Cedar Rapids next month. The air carrier says it doesn’t fill enough seats on five daily flights to Kansas City to make it worthwhile providing the service. Eastern Iowa Airport Marketing Manager Pam Hinman says losing U-S Air shouldn’t hurt travelers. It’s always tough to lose a nonstop destination, but she understands the numbers haven’t been good and remains confident the loss of one carrier won’t affect fares. A regional affiliate of bankrupt U-S Airways, the carrier has provided three 19-passenger flights a day from Cedar Rapids to Kansas City, and two flights to K-C from Des Moines, and the change was NOT a shock to Hinman. Hinman says she’s heard talk of the airline pulling out and talked with travel agents who saw no schedule for the carrier past January, but this was the first official word received. Des Moines International Airport spokesman Michael Audino says U-S Airways had been reducing service ever since nine-eleven. Audino says it’s a direct reflection of the economy and the airline industry, as short-haul markets like the short trip to kansas City reflect the airline’s trying to balance supply and demand for its product. Audino says it may not be the end of the changes we see. Audino says airlines will keep making changes to ensure profitability, like changing service or kinds of airplanes, but he’s confident no airline is going to be leaving the Des Moines market. Audino says Des Moines has actually seen lower fares, and thus higher passenger numbers, over the same time last year.
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