VIENNA Port authority moves on building of hangars

The port authority is likely to approve some airport money to market Allegiant flights.
VIENNA -- Despite funding challenges, the Western Reserve Port Authority plans to proceed with plans to have private companies build hangars at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to spur development.
The port authority, which runs the airport, tentatively approved advertising Wednesday for companies to submit proposals to build the hangars in two areas on the north side of the airport entrance near state Route 193.
The two areas are adjacent to the Cafaro Co. hangar on land that is already paved, said Steve Bowser, director of aviation at the airport. The cost to build the hangars there would be minimal compared to an area on the south side of the airport that officials had previously hoped to develop, said Duane Johnson, a consultant working on the project.
To build the hangars on the south side would require Federal Aviation Administration funding to build a road and aprons to serve the hangars, and the FAA wants to devote its funding to improvements to the fencing around the airport over the next two years, Bowser said.
Project moves along
Regarding the fencing, Johnson reported to port authority members that the project to replace 7-foot fencing with 10-foot fencing is about one-third complete. Another third will be done with 900,000 in FAA money in 2007, and the remainder will probably be done in 2008 with about 900,000 more in FAA money, Johnson said.
The fencing is needed to keep out birds and other wildlife for the safety of aircraft, Bowser said.
In other business, Bowser said Allegiant Air, the regularly scheduled carrier making flights between the local airport and Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla., has had above-average (for the company) passenger numbers for January, February and April, but is reporting slow sales so far in March.
Likely to OK funding
To help improve Allegiant's numbers, Bowser said, the port authority is likely to approve 30,000 to 50,000 of port authority funding in the coming months to help market Allegiant.
Early last year when Allegiant first came to the airport, the port authority used a 250,000 Department of Transportation Small Community Air Services grant to market Allegiant through Rubenstein Associates of Liberty.
Port Authority member John Masternick, president and CEO of Windsor House Inc. of Girard, said he has instructed the marketing department of Windsor House to prepare some marketing assistance to the airport, because the airport does not have its own marketing department.
Windsor House offers an annual rewards program to employees, Masternick said, which involves trips. This year the trip will include an Allegiant flight to Orlando, Masternick said. It's an idea -- having area businesses offer Allegiant flights as employee bonuses -- that the port authority might be able to use, he said.

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