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Sedgwick County commissoners have voted to continue an agreement with the city of Wichita to provide for low-fare air service at Mid-Continent Airport. The agreement runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. It's the same as the past year's agreement, with the city and county each providing $875,000 to subsidize low fare service from Air Tran Airways. That will combine with $5 million from the state of Kansas under the Affordable Airfares program.
Commissioner Karl Peterjohn said the airfares program was originally supposed to be temporary, and he's concerned about it becoming a routine, long term item. Commission chairman Tim Norton said the subsidy is needed a little longer to make sure that Southwest Airlines is established in Wichita. Southwest purchased Air Tran last year, and an agreement was recently announced with the city, county and state to continue service at Mid-Continent Airport.
Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the agreement and the subsidy for Air Tran. Commissioner Richard Ranzau voted no, saying that it's not a function of government to provide a subsidy like this.