VACATION EXPRESS Has end come for Valley service?



The airport could again be without scheduled flights.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
VIENNA -- Vacation Express has ceased accepting reservations to fly from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport after Sept. 5, according to its Web site.
The company is expected to announce this morning whether it plans to continue flying from the local airport.
Reservations were being accepted through the end of the year as recently as last week.
A spokesman for the company said there will be no comment until an official announcement is made this morning. Jim Gallagher, president of Aviation Technologies, which operates flights on behalf of Vacation Express, also said he would not comment until today.
Vacation Express officials have said they were considering ending flights to Sanford, Fla., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., in September, after its six-month commitment to the airport is over.
Funding
The flights began in April with the help of $300,000 from the Western Reserve Port Authority, which borrowed the money from Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Vacation Express asked for an additional $50,000 to $100,000 to continue the service for three or four months, interim airport director Steve Bowser said. No agreement had been reached.
Local officials contacted Tuesday said they were not aware that Vacation Express had come to a decision about the future of the service.
"They are not a successful company," said port authority board member Clarence Smith. "If they are broke, they will leave, I guess."
About the company
Vacation Express, which serves 11 cities, is a subsidiary of a division of RCG Companies Incorporated, which trades on the American Stock Exchange.
Airport officials have said that if Vacation Express leaves, they will try to persuade another company to take over its routes. The company offered the only regularly scheduled flights out of the local airport since Northwest Airlines pulled out in September 2002.

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