TransMeridian Airlines to Offer Daily Flights to Orlando Area From MidAmerica, Ill.

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) -- MidAmerica St. Louis Airport will offer daily flights next year for the first time in the airport's history.

TransMeridian Airlines said Wednesday that daily flights will be available from Feb. 16 to Feb. 27. The Lithia Springs, Ga.-based airline currently flies to Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla. three days a week.

''We reviewed the market reaction to our service and have confidence that adding more frequency is the right thing at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport,'' said Colin Wheeler, TransMeridian's assistant vice president for scheduling and planning, in a written statement.

Since beginning service at the St. Clair County-owned airport in November, 8,800 passengers have flown from MidAmerica on TransMeridian.

MidAmerica said last month it has served more than 10,000 passengers so far this year.

Airport Director Tim Cantwell said that number should continue to increase because of TransMeridian and the recent addition of Allegiant Air, which began offering flights in April from MidAmerica to Las Vegas four days a week.

The airport, built to draw passengers from St. Louis' Lambert International Airport, has struggled since it opened eight years ago. It has had trouble attracting and keeping passenger flights and has had to weather a downturn in the airline industry since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.