AirTran to Serve New Branson Airport

An error by controllers at an air traffic center put planes too close to each other over central Illinois. It was the second error by controllers at the FAA's Chicago Center radar facility in Aurora reported in a week, Friday, Dec. 21, 2007. (CBS/iStockphoto)

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) AirTran has become the first airline to serve Branson's new, privately developed and operated commercial airport.

In a ceremony at Branson Airport Thursday morning, AirTran said it plans one round-trip flight per day from its hub in Atlanta starting May 11, when the $150 million facility opens.

The new airport is located eight miles south of Branson, providing a more direct route for the 8 million people who visit the southwest Missouri entertainment mecca each year. Currently, commercial air travelers must fly into Springfield-Branson National Airport, 52 miles north of Branson.

The 7,100-foot runway is completed and accommodated the landing of an AirTran Boeing 717 for Thursday's ceremony. The 52,000-square-foot terminal will have four gates, able to handle 1 million boardings per year.