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Branson Airport lands deal for daily flight provider

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On the heels of securing a Denver destination, Branson Airport signed a deal with Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Silver Airways to bring daily flights to the tourist town.

Starting Aug. 30, Silver Airways will offer flights to Branson Airport from New Orleans International Airport, Houston’s Intercontinental Airport and Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport, according to a news release.

“These new nonstop routes, combined with interline connectivity to major cities across the U.S., will stimulate air travel in the region and make Branson accessible nationwide,” said Jason Bewley, Silver Airways’ president and chief financial officer, in the release.

Silver Airways plans to utilize its new fleet of ATR-600 turboprops aircraft, which each seat 46 passengers, for the year-round service plans, said Rachel Wood, deputy director of marketing and the air service department for Branson Airport. Silver Airways last year moved to purchase up to 50 ATR-600 planes in a deal valued at as much as $1.1 billion, according to an industry report at ATWOnline.com.

Through Silver Airways’ flights, passengers from Branson Airport would have access to code-share partnerships — through which one airline puts its airline code and flight number on a flight operated by another airline — with United Airlines, JetBlue and Avianca, as well as interline agreements with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Bahamasair, Hahn Air and Azul, according to the release.

Silver Airways becomes the second airline this year to add direct flights to Branson Airport. Denver-based Frontier Airlines is scheduled to return June 13 with flights to the Colorado city. The airline left Branson Airport in 2014, the same year Southwest Airlines pulled its service. Wood said Frontier will fly on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday with the company’s 186-seat Airbus A320 aircraft. She said Branson Airport isn’t yet aware of whether Frontier will bring year-round service.

The new flights will bring Branson Airport’s direct flight roster to five. Branson Airport also offers flights to Austin, Texas, through Via Air, according to its website.

The destinations and start dates are:
    •    Austin, Texas, existing service;
    •    Denver, June 13;
    •    Chicago, Aug. 30;
    •    Houston, Texas, Aug. 30; and
    •    New Orleans, Aug. 30.

The flights add economic development potential for Branson, which boasts some 8.8 million tourists per year.

The Golf Channel's Matt Ginella said Silver Airways would help bring people to an increasingly popular golf destination.

“With respect to the ongoing golf development at Big Cedar Lodge and the opening of Ozarks National golf course designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw this fall, people around the country are already planning travel to this destination, myself included,” he said in the release. “Now having access on Silver Airways, connecting to most major U.S. cities, golf and leisure travel to the Ozark Mountain Region will be more convenient than ever before.”

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