Branson, Mo., Developers Create New Airport
C: country music, Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater, and a museum shaped like the Titanic. But Branson thinks some potential visitors are missing out on the fun because they think it's no fun to drive an hour from the airport - which gets us to our next story. A group of investors is building an airport mere minutes away. When it opens in two years, it will be one of the country's first privately operated commercial airports. Missy Shelton of member station KSMU reports.
MISSY SHELTON: Steve Peet is CEO of Branson Airport LLC.
STEVE PEET: We have this intrinsic belief that there will be a large demand for air service, you know, direct into Branson. You know, Branson gets about eight million leisure tourists there a year now. We don't need to capture a very large percentage of that in order to run a proper operation.
SHELTON: Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley says she considers it to be a win-win for the city.
RAEANNE PRESLEY: It wasn't as though we said we'd write them a check and see how it all worked out. If they bring passengers here, then we pay for those.
SHELTON: Taney County Commissioner Chuck Pennell says it's a good way to get an airport built.
CHUCK PENNELL: You know, they don't have airplanes landing yet, of course, but it's looking to be a very good possibility that this is going to happen and bring a benefit to us. County commission's confident that there is no risk to county government and this process.
SHELTON: Spencer Dickerson, with the American Association of Airport Executive, says there could be other pitfalls.
SPENCER DICKERSON: Airports have been successful in this country because they've been under public ownership and public control. The question is would they be able to make sure that the transparency, openness, the fairness, access to everybody is there like it would be under a public operation?
SHELTON: For NPR News, I'm Missy Shelton.
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