An Analysis of the Effects of Affordable Airfares Programs on Wichita Area Employment

affordable airfares impact study

Adequate levels of airline service can play an important role in urban economic development.  Having access to multiple airline services at a single airport can increase competition among airlines, which in turn lowers fares, reducing the costs of business travel and meeting face-to-face with business collaborators.  This can make a city more attractive to both potential new businesses looking to locate there and businesses which already exist in the area.  Lower travel costs can help increase intercity agglomeration economies by making it easier for firms to integrate themselves with the business community outside of the city in which they are located.

In 2002, Wichita introduced its Fair Fares program to help attract low-cost air carriers to provide service, with the goal of reducing the airfares paid by travelers at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, and in 2006 the program was expanded to the state level as the Kansas Affordable Airfares Program.  Starting in 2002, the program was successful in attracting several low-cost air carriers to service routes from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, and, in each year since 2002, there has been a low-cost air carrier with a presence at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. 


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