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VIENNA Airport hopes to net a grant



Published: Thu, April 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Paying travel agents for each ticket they sell from Vienna is a possible incentive the aid would cover.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

VIENNA -- Officials at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport will ask the federal government for more than $500,000 to fund their quest to land a second commercial airline.

The Western Reserve Port Authority, which runs the airport, typically budgets about $100,000 a year for marketing, said Thomas Nolan, the director of aviation.

Attracting regularly scheduled passenger service has become even more of a priority for the port authority since USAirways Express pulled out in October. Passenger service from the airport is now limited to Northwest Express' three-times daily flights to Detroit.

Proposals: Officials are still working out plans for how they hope to spend a cut of the $20 million the U.S. Department of Transportation intends to hand out to 40 smaller airports nationwide seeking to expand service.

About 100 airports will compete for the funds, Nolan said.

The local airport's grant application is not final but will include earmarking money to pitch the airport to airlines and also subsidies for airlines that expand service here.

Incentives for airlines could include guaranteeing that a certain number of seats on each flight would be sold or offering to pay for a local advertising campaign, said Reid Dulberger, a member of the port authority board.

"In today's market nationally, it is common for airports which want to attract new service to provide incentives," he said.

The airport might also ask to use the funds for cash bonuses to travel agents for each ticket they book out of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport or to provide free parking for passengers, Nolan said.

"Assuming an airline will provide a new service, we will provide money to launch a blitz campaign to promote the service," he said.

The grant application detailing the plans must be turned in by April 22. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft has submitted a letter in support of the local airport's application.




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