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Airport Gets $780K Grant to Lure New Passenger Carrier
VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – A $780,000 grant will provide funds that could help bring scheduled daily air service back to Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, its aviation director said.
The Small Community Air Service Development Program grant, annoounced Tuesday by the office of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, will be used to provide money for a revenue guarantee to help attract a daily carrier.
The grant award will put the airport “in a better light” as it discusses potential routes with regional carriers, said Dan Dickten, the airport’s aviation director. The airport is in discussions with several airlines about possibly adding a stop at Youngstown-Warren. Among them is Silver Airways, which would provide connecting service to United Airlines flights out of Washington’s Dulles International Airport. Silver provided a letter of support to federal officials for the airport’s grant request, he said.
“We’re told we’re just waiting on an airplane now,” Dickten said, though he added that wasn’t an announcement of service. The airport has targeted April 2013 for startup of daily scheduled service, he said.
“Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport provides important travel services to Youngstown area businesses and visitors,” Brown said in the statement issued by his office. “This funding will improve the efficiency and affordability of the airport so it can serve as a reliable option for air travelers in the Mahoning Valley.”
“We’re of course very excited to be given the opportunity have this grant reinstated,” Dickten said. The airport last year lost a similar grant because it was written specifically for regional jet service. For the short routes, a turbo or jet prop aircraft such as a Saab 340 would be more efficient.
Because the airport was “so close,” the Transportation Department permitted Youngstown-Warren to reapply for the funding, Dickten said. The airport must provide $420,000 in matching funds for the grant that YNGAir Partners, a community group formed to support the airport, has committed to help raise. “So now we have the means to support the airline revenue guarantee,” he said.
“All the airlines that we’re talking to now are not requesting but requiring revenue guarantees for startup” because the airport has lacked daily service for so long, Dickten said. “It’s a risk,” he remarked.
Allegiant Air provides service to leisure destinations several times per week.
Copyright 2012 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.