DECATUR - Officials from air carrier Air Choice One hope to meet prospective passengers at an open house with free food and beer Thursday at Decatur Airport.
Though the air carrier has been offering commercial flights from Decatur to St. Louis and Chicago for more than nine months, this is its first open house. The event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. and will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, tour of an airplane, drawings for various prizes including free tickets and refreshments catered by the Main Hangar Restaurant.
"We want to show people that we are a reliable and cost-effective service," said Jacqueline Donohoo, director of marketing for Air Choice One. "We're really interested in just getting to know the community and having them get to know us."
Donohoo said Air Choice One CEO Shane Storz will be on hand to meet community members.
Air Choice One offers four or five flights out of Decatur every day, said Don Luy, president of the Decatur Park District Board of Commissioners.
The park district board is responsible for Decatur Airport and chose Air Choice One to offer passenger services there, beginning in December 2009.
The air carrier uses a Cessna Caravan, which can be toured at the open house. Luy described the aircraft as "not your typical commuter plane," with larger seats and pull-out tabletops.
Air Choice One recently acquired a baggage agreement with United Airlines, essentially making it more convenient for passengers to bring baggage through Decatur Airport. Luy said Air Choice One is moving toward similar agreements with other major airlines.
He encouraged people to come to the open house and see the plane for themselves.
"As I've always said, when we introduced (Air Choice One) for the first time, this is a little bit like a muscle," Luy said. "It gets stronger when you use it, and that continues to be something I feel strongly about with their services."