Sedgwick County renews Southwest Airlines subsidy

 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A divided Sedgwick County commission has renewed a subsidy for Southwest Airlines.

 

The commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to renew an agreement that guarantees the airline up to $6.5 million a year to offset any losses from doing business in Wichita.

 

The Wichita Eagle reports the Affordable Airfares program is expected to be funded with $5 million from the state and $875,000 each from the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County. Southwest has been in the Wichita market for about a year.

 

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn voted against continuing the subsidy, saying he hasn’t seen any evidence that Southwest is not profitable in Wichita.

 

But Chris Chronis, the county’s chief financial officer, said the program has helped increase ridership and reduce airfare rates at other competing airlines in Wichita.

 

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