Dickten resigns as aviation director


Search for new commercial service will continue to fill hole left by Allegiant Air

By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The search for a new commercial airliner will continue despite the resignation of the director of aviation for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

“It’s still an active facility now, but we feel that we need to have commercial service there,” Western Reserve Port Authority Executive Director John Moliterno said. Moliterno will serve as director of aviation until the position is filled.

After eight years as director, Dan Dickten resigned Saturday. He could not be reached to comment.

Dickten’s two-year contract with the Western Reserve Port Authority, which runs the airport, was up.

During his time as the aviation director, Dickten was accused of sexual harassment twice by former WRPA employees. Both times, the WRPA had the claims resolved through its insurance company.

“We parted amicably,” Moliterno said. “You never know what someone is going to do at the end of a contract.”

The resignation comes as the airport is in search of new commercial service to fill the hole left by Allegiant Air, which ended its 11-year service with the Vienna airport in January. The airport now has no commercial service.

The search for service will not be affected at all by Dickten’s departure, Moliterno said.

“I have been intimately involved in that process and will continue to be,” he said.

The airport is in discussions with at least two airlines currently for commercial service.

The airport is still used for private planes, charters and by the U.S. Air Force.

Mahoning and Trumbull counties both provide hotel bed tax revenues to the WRPA for the airport. In 2016, Mahoning County sent $1,075,373 in hotel bed tax revenues, while Trumbull County sent $489,389.

Commissioners from both counties have said they want to see more activity at the local airport.

“We are going to have to find someone else,” Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda said.

“We are going to have to find someone who is going to work hard to get an airline here. We need an airline there really.”

Trumbull County Commissioner Dan Polivka wished Dickten the best.

“I am always concerned about the future of our airport,” he said. “I just hope that we will be able to land commercial flights out there that are supported by the area.”

Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti also wants to see the airport back to what it was.

“I think we have a beautiful airport. I would love to see it come back,” she said.

Anthony Traficanti, another Mahoning County commissioner, would like to see someone in place for the position sooner rather than later.

“The port authority is going to take their time in the search, and they want to do it right,” he said, adding “...we have to react to that and do it smartly to make sure we put the right person in that position.”

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