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Airport targets hotel, increasing D.C. passengers

If you go anywhere near Clinton National Airport you can see the construction of the $67 million first phase of the new terminal taking shape. And construction plans don't stop there even as the airport's newest big city flight struggles to find passengers.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - If you go anywhere near Clinton National Airport you can see the construction of the $67 million first phase of the new terminal taking shape.

And construction plans don't stop there even as the airport's newest big city flight struggles to find passengers.

The new flight to Washington D.C. is not taking off as strongly as hoped with only 40% full in its first three weeks.

Ron Mathieu, executive director at the Bill & Hillary Clinton National Airport says part of that comes down to promotion.

"Well I don't think, unfortunately, a lot of people know about it,” Mathieu says. I'm hoping that's a part of it. And the simple of the matter is because it's a direct flight, like with all direct flights we have, it tends to cost a little bit more."

We found it can cost a lot more.

A non-stop roundtrip Little Rock to Washington D.C. flight is priced at $808. Willing to stop off in Chicago? You could find a flight for as much as $500 less

"If the community doesn't support it then it won't be successful. If it's not successful it will be withdrawn," Mathieu says.

The commission on Tuesday also green-lighting the beginning stages for using airport property to build a hotel.

"People that are in the business, feel that even with the new hotels going in downtown there's a demand for something at the airport and I think we ought to listen to what they have to say," Mathieu says.

Retired General Wesley Clark is a Little Rock Airport Commission member. He said the D.C. to Little Rock flight is critical and urged the airport to talk with the airline about perhaps lowering the flight cost.
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