Wichita may be the Air Capital, but it's certainly not the Cheap Fare Capital.
In 2000, state figures show ticket prices in and out of Wichita were about 26% higher than the national average. In 2009, Wichita fares were about 5% higher.
A major reason for the turnaround has been the "Fair Fares" program, which uses taxpayer money to subsidize low cost carriers like Air Tran and Frontier.
Since 2007, the state has kicked in $5 million a year on the promise that "Fair Fares" not only keeps ticket prices lower, but also creates jobs and provides a boost to the economy.
Last year, when legislators considered killing the program, an audit showed "Fair Fares" has created more than 31-hundred jobs. it also showed the state gets back $2.32 for every $1 it spends on the program.
The audit concluded the program has helped significantly, but that some of the benefits have been overstated.
Over the past six years, local and state governments have pumped more than $40 million into the program. In addition to the state's $5 million annual contribution, Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita chip in $1.67 million.