Airport, airline to begin mediation today


By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

VIENNA

Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport officials will begin mediation with Aerodynamics Inc. today.

The mediation was briefly discussed at the Western Reserve Port Authority’s Aviation Committee meeting Tuesday. The port authority oversees the Vienna air facility.

Earlier this year, the port authority filed a lawsuit against the airline, which offered daily flights to Chicago for a short time last year before the service ended because of low ticket sales.

The service lasted from July 1 through late August, with the WRPA paying ADI $361,714 as a revenue guarantee to ensure that the airline would be profitable during the startup phase.

The port authority seeks to have that $361,714 returned, arguing ADI breached its contract by not having the needed agreements in place to enable passengers to easily connect with other flights at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

ADI filed a countersuit denying it misled the airport and demanding $294,221, the amount ADI billed the port authority Aug. 30 but never received.

The court recommended mediation, and both parties agreed.

“We will see how it goes,” said Dan Dickten, airport aviation director. “Sometimes they are done quickly, and sometimes not.”

Also discussed at the meeting was next week’s aviation conference in Washington state that airport officials plan to attend.

At the conference, local officials will meet with several airlines, including Southern Airways Express, a Memphis-based company that uses 22 nine-passenger Cessna Caravans and employs 90 pilots per day to fly daily to Baltimore.

In September, the Aviation Committee had a conference call with the airline, which also offers service to the Gulf Coast area, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Nashville.

“They are small and growing. If we get on board with them early in, we can grow with them,” Dickten said. “We are looking at all types of service.”

The airport will lose its Allegiant Air service, its only commercial service, in January. The ultra-low-cost carrier has offered flights locally since 2006.

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