Local, News, Top Stories — September 28, 2011 at 7:32 pm

St. Cloud receives grant to attract airlines

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AirplaneST. CLOUD, MN – The City of St. Cloud just received a $750,000 federal grant that will help attract commercial air carriers to the area. St. Cloud Regional Airport has been without an air carrier for almost two years and local support is credited for securing the grant.

Bill Towle, Director of St. Cloud Regional Airport, is excited about the future of the airport now that the grant has been obtained.

“This is certainly the best news we’ve had in a long time, the past couple of years we’ve certainly had our challenges,” he said.

The grant serves as an incentive to bring regional airlines to St. Cloud by offsetting start up costs and lowering the risk of losing money.

“A hundred percent [of the grant] will go towards what we call a minimum revenue guarantee, it’s really putting a pot of money somewhere set aside, so in the event that an airline loses money or has some start up costs, that they’re able to pull from that and make themselves whole,” said Towle.

Altogether a million dollars has been raised including the funding from the grant, $10,000 from the three surrounding counties, along with donations from local businesses.

“Now we’re going to move forward and talk to airlines, maybe in a little different way. When we were going to talk to them otherwise, we really didn’t have a great financial incentive package to give them,” he said. “Now we are going to be able to go to them and say, yes we have a million dollars, it’s some kind of minimum revenue guarantee to offer them and negotiate with to try to attract them here.”

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