VIDEO: OSU, Stillwater could start buying empty seats on American Airlines flights

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STILL SEE SIGNS FOR 792 THAT PASSED LAST NIGHT. WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN BEFORE IT HITS THE GROCERY STORE SHELVES? WE’VE SEEN CUTS TO EDUCATION STATEWIDE. SOME WONDER IF A NEW INVESTMENT WILL PAY OFF DURING TIME WHEN PENNIES ARE BEING PINCHED. I PAY MY OWN TUITION SO IT’S FRUSTRATING HAVING TO WORK. Reporter: TEW WISH SEASON WENT UP 6% THIS CREEK AT OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY AND STUDENTS FEAR ANOTHER HIKE. I HAVE ONE MORE YEAR. Reporter: WHAT STUDENTS DON’T KNOW IS THAT PART OF THEIR TUITION WEPT UP INTO THE BLUE SKY. THAT’S BECAUSE OF THIS AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF STILLWATER, OSU AND AMERICAN AIRLINES. IT ESTABLISHES WHAT IS CALLED GUARANTEED AIR SERVICE TO STILL WATER THEY’LL ONLY FLY INTO A SMALL CITY IF THEY CAN MAKE SURE THEY ON OPERATE AT NOT A LOSS. OSU AGREED TO PAY AMERICAN UP TO 17.$5 MILLION OVER TWO YEARS IN REVENUE GUARANTEES. A LOT OF GOOD THINGS ARE AHEAD FOR US. WE’RE CERTAINLY MAKING LOT OF INVESTMENTS IN OUR FACILITIES AND THAT’S THE WAY WE LOOK AT IT AND THE CITY COUNCIL LOOKS AT IT Reporter: GARY JOHNSON SAYS THE AGREEMENT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE COMMERCIAL AIRLINE SERVICE TO THE TOWN HOPING TO EXPAND STUDENT RECRUITMENT. HE SAID THEY COPIED THEIR AGREEMENT BASED OFF OF MIZZOU IN COLUMBIA AND KANSAS STATE IN MANHATTAN. ACCORDING TO THIS AGREEMENT THAT WE FOUND, EVEN IF THIS PLANE FLEW EMPTY AMERICAN WOULD STILL MAKE A PROFIT. JOHNSON BELIEVES HARDLY ANY OF THE FUNDS WILL BE USED. THE PLANES ARE MOSTLY FULL AND BELIEVE PHYSICIAN THERE IS A SHORTFALL THE PAY OUT WILL BE SMALL. JOHNSON BELIEVES IT’S BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL THEY MAY NOT NEED TO DISPERSE FUNDS. A SPOKESMAN FOR OSU SAYS THE SEASON .5 MILLION CAME FROM THE SCHOOL’S GENERAL FUND. THEY BELIEVE THE FLIGHTS HAVE BEEN AT OR NEAR CAPACITY SO THEY SHOULDN’T NEED TO PAY OUT FUNDS. A SLOW DOWN COULD COME IN THE SUMMER BUT THE MONEY USE TODAY MAKE UP THE LOST REVENUE WOULD BE NOWHERE NEAR THE MONEY PLEDGED. WITH THE SUCCESS WE’RE SEEING WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO SEE BECAUSE WE’RE BLAZING TRAIL. Reporter: OKLAHOMA SENATOR JAMES LANKFORD CALLED IT A MISUSE OF FUNDS. WE CAN’T CONTINUE TO SUSTAIN PROGRAM THAT IS ARE ECONOMIC JUMP STARTS IN COMMUNITIES WHERE THE SAME PROGRAM HAS NOT WORKED OUT IN OTHER COMMUNITIES. Reporter: I SHOWED THE AGREEMENT TO LANKFORD. HE SAID HE WILL NOT TELL THE SCHOOL HOW TO SPEND THEIR MONEY. NOT THAT WE HAVE THE AIR SERVICE BUT WHO SHOULD MAKE THE INCENTIVE TO PAY FOR THAT. THIS IS A RISK THAT’S HAPPENING ON THE FEDERAL TAXPAYER, THE COUNTIES AND THE UNIVERSITY AS WELL.

 

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