Port authority approves $420,000 to attract daily air service
The Western Reserve Port Authority approved using $420,000 of its hotel-motel bed tax dollars to help attract daily air service to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.
Board members voted 8-0 Wednesday to authorize the money as the matching portion of a $780,000 Federal Aviation Administration grant approved in 2012 to provide a revenue guarantee to an airline that would start up the service.
The money will be used only if an airline requests use of the grant funds to start daily air service, officials said.
Airport officials met March 10 in Chicago with officials from United Airlines regarding the possibility that United subsidiary United Express might be interested in operating a service between the local airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Such a service would connect local fliers to a wide range of connecting options in Chicago.
Port authority officials and the Regional Chamber have begun a survey of local businesses and individuals to provide United with information to gauge interest in such a service and hope to present the results to the airline in the coming weeks, said Dan Dickten, the airport’s director of aviation.
Thomas Reich, the airport’s consultant, said in February that loss of the United/Continental hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport this June would present an opportunity for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to get daily service.
The FAA awarded the airport a $780,000 Small Communities Air Service grant in 2012. Its purpose is to provide an airline a revenue guarantee that would be used by the airline during its start-up phase to guarantee that it can continue the service until it becomes profitable.