BRANSON, Mo. (AP) _ Departures from Branson Airport have fallen sharply in the year since its last mainline carriers pulled out.
The Springfield News-Leader (http://sgfnow.co/1OVhuq2 ) reports Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines quit serving the airport in 2014, replaced by public charter flights.
A generous estimate puts the airport’s 2015 boarding passengers around 18,000 by year’s end, a fraction of the roughly 130,000 passengers in 2013, the facility’s best year.
The Taney County Commission has approved spending $500,000 to go along with about $1.5 million from other sources to lure a new airline to Branson Airport, which opened in 2009.
The closest the airport came to landing a major carrier was in late March, when billionaire Richard Branson announced that Virgin America would start serving Branson.
It turned out to be an April Fool’s joke.