By Patrick Yeagle

A survey of business travelers in Springfield shows more than half used the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport last year.

Commissioned by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the survey found that nearly 77 percent rated their experience at the Springfield airport better than average. The results come after the airport reported that passenger numbers for 2016 hit their highest mark in 12 years.

The Chamber released its 2016 SPI Business Perceptions Survey on April 10 after collecting responses from 251 business travelers during November and December of last year. The results are mostly positive for Springfield’s airport, and the Chamber is asking fliers to commit to using the airport whenever economically feasible.

Just over half of the survey’s respondents – 50.8 percent – said they fly out of Springfield more than once per year; some respondents reported flying out of Springfield more than 20 times per year. During 2016, 57.5 percent of respondents departed from the Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport, and another 18.2 percent said they last used the airport in 2015. Less than a quarter of respondents said they last used the airport two or more years ago.

The largest group of business travelers used the Springfield airport most often at 47.5 percent, followed by St. Louis at 37.6 percent. Meanwhile, 37.2 percent of respondents rated their overall experience at the Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport as “excellent,” and another 39.7 percent classified it as “good.” Just under 5 percent rated it “poor” or “terrible,” while 13.8 percent said it was average.

In February, the Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport reported that passenger traffic hit a 12-year peak in 2016, with 191,946 total passengers last year. That was the fourth consecutive year of passenger increases for the airport, and traffic appeared to continue increasing this year, with January 2017 traffic up 17 over January 2016.

Respondents in the Chamber’s airport survey said that when they chose airports other than Springfield, the reason was usually lower fares, more frequent flights or more non-stop flights to destinations. The Chamber is asking business travelers to pledge to use Abraham Lincoln Capitol Airport when economically feasible, pointing to the airport’s “True Cost Calculator” which attempts to show the total cost of flying out of Springfield and surrounding airports after accounting for other factors like driving. According to the Chamber, 33 local businesses have formally pledged to use the airport so far.

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