United Airlines Ends Topeka Service

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- United Airlines will end its service at Topeka Regional Airport on September 2, 2014, Topeka Regional Airport announced Wednesday.

The following information was released by Topeka Regional Airport Wednesday:

United Airlines will end its service at Topeka Regional Airport on
September 2, 2014. The two daily jet flights to Chicago O’Hare will continue until that date. United reported to the Airport that service failed to meet revenue and passenger forecasts.

United inaugurated service in Topeka on January 7th. Since that date, more than 16,000 people have flown on the two daily regional jet flights to the United hub at Chicago O’Hare. Topeka passengers filled 49% of all the available seats on the flights, against an average of 86% of seats filled on all of United’s Chicago flights, causing the service to fall well below forecasts and targets. Only three routes in the United network at Chicago had a lower percentage of seats filled.

While the service did not meet performance targets, it was also challenged by some of the worst weather in decades. “Despite the forecast demand for this air service, United was not able to maintain profitability on the route,” said Eric Johnson, President of the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority. “The first three months of service included a significant number of flight cancellations due to snowstorms in both Chicago and Topeka. Thunderstorms in May and June also caused a number of operational problems that we believe caused people to choose to fly through hubs other than Chicago.”

United will proactively contact Topeka customers booked on flights after September 2nd and will provide the option to receive a refund, a travel credit, or to rebook their flights in and out of Kansas City. Customers can also contact United directly at (800) 864-8331 to change their travel plans.

“We want to thank those in the region who supported our effort, and who booked their trips out of Topeka Regional Airport,” Johnson said. “We are disappointed at the loss of this service, but we are pleased to have been able to work with United Airlines to offer commercial air service to the Topeka region.”

Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce & GO Topeka President & CEO Doug Kinsinger released the following statement Wednesday:

“The Chamber and GO Topeka worked for many years to help secure air service for our community. We hoped the business community and citizens at large would see the United service to and from Chicago as a benefit and a way to reach destinations throughout the United States and internationally efficiently and economically. The decision by United officials, while not unexpected, is disappointing as we have seen increased numbers of travelers each month they have operated from Topeka Regional Airport.”

About the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority:

The Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority's primary focus is to provide safe, quality aviation facilities at the Topeka Regional and Philip Billard Municipal Airports that meet the needs of the users while limiting the financial impact on the community. Topeka Regional Airport is currently the home of the Kansas Air National Guard's 190th Air Refueling Wing and the 1st Battalion 108th Aviation Kansas Army National Guard.

Posted by Josh Mabry