By Associated Press - Monday, February 13, 2017

BRANSON, Mo. (AP) - Branson Airport says it will offer flights this year to Austin, Dallas and Houston, Texas, as well as Chicago and Denver.

The airport said Monday the flights will be operated by Via Airlines May 25 through Sept. 5.

Branson Airport Executive Director Jeff Bourk said he didn’t know if additional routes might be added later.

Since Southwest and Frontier airlines pulled out of Branson in 2014, the privately owned and operated airport has offered public charter flights to try and demonstrate a demand for air service from Branson and lure a mainline carrier back.

In 2016, the airport had 5,944 boarding passengers, a drop of 62.2 percent from the previous year. The airport opened in 2009 and peaked in 2013 at 113,584 boarding passengers.

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