In yet another sign of accelerated momentum and heightened fortunes at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, a record-high monthly passenger count was reached in June.
According to Dan Dickten, aviation director at the airport, 18,166 passengers used 60 flights into and out of the airport last month on a course toward reaching 128,000 passengers at YNG for the year.
Those lofty numbers bring immediate rewards in illustrating the increased use and growing viability of the 70-year-old airport in Trumbull County. They also solidly justify tens of millions of dollars spent on airport improvements in recent years, some of which are ongoing. They range from terminal modernization to parking lot expansion to security upgrades to sewer-system replacement.
Those solid numbers now can be used as a magnet to help attract a respected and established carrier to provide the first daily commercial service at the airport in 11 years. Clearly, the stronger the passenger base, the stronger the attraction will be for a Delta or a Southwest or a US Airways to establish a foothold in the Mahoning Valley.
Officials should not let the loss of a bid to bring daily United Airlines service to the airport earlier this year deter them. That decision largely was based on factors outside of YNG’s control.
Instead, they should tout the new numbers along with such selling points as demonstrated need by businesses, convenience for all travelers and likely returns on investment for airlines. In so doing, they can clear the way for even higher levels of growth on the not-too-distant horizon.