Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis addresses United Airlines departure
MONROE, La. (KNOE) -Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis is speaking out regarding United Airlines’ decision to leave Monroe at the beginning of next year.
“You start thinking about that and the economic impact that it could have for people that fly United,” Ellis told KNOE.
Ellis says United’s decision has nothing to do with Monroe specifically, rather a change in travel habits during the pandemic.
“As you saw the other cities that they pulled out of, this was a business decision,” explained Ellis. “We knew what an impact that COVID has on travel.”
The mayor says although he was disappointed in United’s departure, he likes what he hears from Monroe’s other carriers.
“Delta Airlines is flying larger jets into Monroe,” said Ellis. “American Airlines, we are talking to them about picking up other connections around the U.S. They have doubled down during this time with their flights and where they are flying.”
Ellis says he has discussed several destinations with airline executives, including one of American Airlines’ largest hubs.
“One of our biggest connections in Charlotte,” explained Ellis. “Charlotte has a large international hub that goes overseas.”
The mayor says he has also tasked MLU Director Charles Butcher with trying to bring in a value carrier to help facilitate business travel.
“I would love to see a direct flight to New Orleans, direct flights to Baton Rouge because there is a lot of business done between New Orleans and Baton Rouge,” Ellis told KNOE.
Ellis is confident that new federal funding will help Monroe scale airport operations.
“With this new infrastructure bill that is coming down, we are going to take every opportunity that we can to start figuring out where our gaps are at the airport,” explained Mayor Ellis. “To start putting those projects out there and doing what we can to find somebody else to come in here.”
Ellis says the city and United have agreed to re-evaluate their relationship in one year.
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