Youngstown-Warren airport officials courting several replacement airlines


By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

VIENNA

Western Reserve Port Authority officials are talking to several airlines that might offer flights between the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and Chicago, flights to leisure destinations and flights on smaller aircraft.

Dan Dickten, director of aviation for the port authority, which runs the airport, told port authority directors Wednesday that he will meet with SkyWest Airlines a second time in January to further discussion about Chicago flights.

SkyWest, headquartered in St. George, Utah, works with network carriers including United, Delta, American and Alaska Airlines and has 421 aircraft. It operates more than 2,000 flights per day to 226 destinations in North America, according to its web site.

Dickten said a key is SkyWest “already works with United,” which would be crucial if SkyWest were to provide flights to Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Aerodynamics Inc. provided flights to Chicago O’Hare for a short time during the summer of 2016, but ADI’s lack of an interline agreement with United to access United’s baggage handling and ticketing network was blamed for the failure of ADI’s service.

Like ADI, SkyWest would require a revenue guarantee from the local airport to start up the flights, but the port authority still has available about $500,000 of the revenue guarantee it offered to ADI, Dickten said.

Meanwhile, Dickten said Sun Country Airlines of Minnesota could become the replacement for Allegiant Air, which is ending its leisure air service at the local airport Jan. 4 after 11 years here.

“They are another ultra-low-cost carrier” that flies many of the same routes as Allegiant, Dickten said.

Southern Airways Express, a company Dickten talked about extensively in September, will learn more in the coming months about local airline passengers because of a survey that will be undertaken.

A mailing list provided by the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce will be used to identify airline destinations local officials seek the most, to determine whether Southern Air can make flights here feasible, Dickten said.

He also talked about other airlines, including Ultimate Jetcharters, an on-demand service that flies 30-passenger aircraft.

In other business, the port authority directors authorized having the 2018 Wings-n-Wheels car and aircraft show at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

This year’s event featured 1,000 cars and 150 aircraft at the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum and adjacent SLOAS Airfield on North River Road in Howland, but it is outgrowing that location.

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