American Airlines is back after what Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce called ‘the high point of his stressful time during the pandemic.’
Last month, the Airline announced it intended to cancel flight plans for 15 smaller U.S. cities starting this October. American Airlines cited the recent drop in demand for air travel amid the pandemic as their key decision making factor.
That’s when the Stillwater community came together.
Stillwater Regional Airport Director Paul Priegel spoke with several federal and state elected officials asking them to continue funding for their airport. Other members of the community also got involved by sending letters detailing the importance of the airline’s business in Stillwater.
Soon after their efforts, American Airlines renounced their decision to cancel flights in Stillwater.
“The news I got Thursday night that American Airlines is going to maintain their schedule through October and the rest of the foreseeable future was not only great news for the community just because of how important that service is to us,” Joyce said. “But it was really encouraging from the standpoint of the community coming together and everybody pitching in a little bit and helping us get that thing done.”
Even before this official decision, American Airlines worked with the Stillwater airport’s administration where they discussed air service preservation.
“We have shown American Airlines that we truly value their partnership,” Priegel told the Oklahoman. “By agreeing to work with us on our upcoming flight schedule, American Airlines has shown us that they value our partnership as well.”
Joyce said he was pleased to see a community in action and a victory for the town, as well.
“To see all that come together, to see it work and to see the positive response from American [Airlines] and them making the decision to keep us on the schedule was really gratifying,” Joyce said. “Not just because it’s a great thing for Stillwater, but because it was a community effort.”