VACATION EXPRESS Most flights from Valley are on time, official says



Delays from other airports are worse, officials say.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
VIENNA -- Vacation Express flights from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport have been on time more than 85 percent of the time, an official with the company that manages the flights said.
Unfortunately, it's the late ones that get all the attention.
Since the four-times-weekly flights began in April, Vacation Express has twice made the news with delays that kept passengers waiting in the local airport for about eight hours for their ride to the Sunshine State.
"We feel uncomfortable with the situation that was happening," said airport interim director Steve Bowser. "On the other side, we have to realize that delays are a common occurrence in the industry and we cannot guarantee the airport will be an exception to that."
During June, only one of Vacation Express' 26 flights from the local airport was delayed more than a half-hour, said Jim Gallagher, president of Aviation Technologies of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., which manages the flights.
The previous month, there were three delays, for an on-time average of 88 percent, he said.
"Your service has been impressive compared to everyone else out there that has a route," Gallagher said.
Others' on-time rates
Other airlines and airports have much worse on-time records, he said. Only about 67 percent of flights from Philadelphia are on time, and the records for the primary airports in Cincinnati and Indianapolis are 79 percent and 75 percent, respectively.
The frequency of delays in Vienna may be less, but in the otherwise empty airport, a plane load of stranded passengers really stands out.
Vicki Stankewick, owner of Howland Travel, said she didn't think stories about flight delays will have too great an impact on the sale of Vacation Express tickets, as long as prices remain low.
Florida flights from Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport are between $50 and $80 less than out of Cleveland or Pittsburgh, she said.
"My opinion is you are going to have people who will stay away, but the majority of people who can get a cheap fare will go with it," she said. "$50 or $80 can make a big difference."
siff@vindy.com

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