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Why A New Direct Flight To Mexico Is An Important Step Forward For Air Travel In Kansas City

Travelers pick up luggage inside Terminal B at Kansas City International Airport in this June 2020 file photo.
Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
Kansas Citians will have one more opportunity to escape to Cancun with the addition of a new flight by American Airlines from KCI.

American Airlines has announced it will add a Saturday morning direct flight from Kansas City to Cancun, Mexico. KCI officials say it's a vote of confidence for the airport, which is still struggling with COVID-19 losses.

American Airlines, Frontier, and Air Canada will offer international flights from KCI beginning this fall, in the wake of catastrophic losses due to COVID-19. In Kansas City and elsewhere around the country planes are beginning to fill, but at its worst in April, commerical flights in the country had dropped by 77 percent.

As first reported in The Kansas City Business Journal, American Airlines will add a new direct Kansas City - Cancun flight to its destinations from Kansas City.

American Airlines Spokesperson Nichelle Tait says the new Cancun flight is one of its first internationals from Kansas City.

“The schedule will operate on Saturdays with a 7:13 a.m departure and arriving in Cancun 11:45 in the morning, so you’ll have a good part of the day in the sun,” Tait said in an interview. “There are a lot of people not just in our hubs that want to get to these warm weather destinations.”

The airline is headquartered in Dallas/Forth Worth but other than Chicago, most of its hubs are located on the coasts.

The once-a-day flight will operate between December 17 and April 5.

Justin Meyer, Deputy Director of Aviation for KCI, says the American Airlines announcement is significant.

"American, who has been out of the Kansas City - Cancun market, is intentionally coming back," he said. "With this flight, American is saying we see an opportunity from Kansas City that is different than what we have been seeing in the past and we will accommodate it."

Meyer said Frontier Airlines and Air Canada will bring back flights to Cancun and Toronto, respectively later in the year.

Meyer says these are the first international flights that will leave Kansas City since the pandemic began in March of 2020.

Non-stop service to the Dominican Republic by Vacation Express will not be returning to KCI, Meyer said.

American's Tait says the airline has implemented state- of- the- art cleaning systems and will require masks of all passengers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

She says the airline will try to sell out every seat but will waive change fees for customers who are not comfortable flying on a plane where passengers are not separated by social distancing.

US News and World Report ranks Cancun the number one best place in its list of 15 Mexico vacation spots.

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