By FRAN DE LANCEY Era Correspondent firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2014 7:00 am
The U. S. Department of Transportation has issued an Order Extending Service Obligation to Silver Airways to continue providing Essential Air Service at the Bradford Regional Airport for an additional 30 days, which would be Sept. 14, or until further DOT action, according to airport Director Tom Frungillo in a report Wednesday to the airport authority.
On Feb. 14, Silver Airways filed a 90-day notice of its plans to terminate scheduled air service at Bradford, DuBois, Franklin airports in Pennsylvania; Jamestown, N.Y.; and Parkersburg, W.Va. airports, effective May 15.
On June 5, the DOT prevented Silver from suspending service through July 14 and requested proposals from airlines interested in providing replacement service.
On June 24, the DOT issued an order explaining that the federal EAS subsidy at Bradford was being terminated Sept. 30 because the airport’s daily passenger average has fallen be below 10 and because Bradford is within 175 miles of a larger airport.
Frungillo filed a request for a waiver to the EAS requirements for the minimum passenger counts and is awaiting an answer from the DOT.
“It could be a September or October time frame before we get an answer on our request for a waiver since Congress is in recess and the DOT secretary is traveling,” Frungillo said.
If a waiver is OK’d, DOT will select a new carrier. In the meantime, Silver is ordered to continue service.
Frungillo praised the support the airport has received form lawmakers and the Pittsburgh International Airport in its fight to retain EAS saying, “We definitely stated our case well.”
In a related matter, Silver Airways’ numbers for Bradford are encouraging. During his airline report, Ryan Dach, general manager for Silver Airways, operating as United Express, said “July was a good month with 232 passengers enplaned and 219 passengers deplaned. One flight was cancelled due to maintenance and another one cancelled due to weather.”
“It’s good to know that enplanements are up over a year ago,” said Authority Chairman Joe DeMott.
Economic development at the airport is a topic almost always discussed at authority meetings and Wednesday was no exception. Frungillo said that Recckio Real Estate and Development of Buffalo has a one-year contract to promote the multi-tenant center, which is located along the entrance to the airport.
Timbering is almost finished at a site for the Multi-Tenant Center North 2, and the marketable timber is to be sold.
The authority approved three items
One was the Minimum Municipal Obligation, a state mandated actuarial funding standard, of the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System, that must be signed by the chief administrator officer and filed by the last business day in September. Frungillo said, “Our plan is pretty-well funded.”
Due to time constraints, the authority directed Frungillo to conduct an email vote approving a grant offer to purchase snow removal equipment, subject to the solicitor’s approval.
The third vote saw the authority approve an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant offer of $54,219 for runway end identification lights for Runway 23. The state and local shares for this project are $3,012 each for a total of $60,243.
The airport will hold a full-scale drill that is open to local fire departments on Aug. 23-24. Following classroom instruction, the practical session will begin at 5 p.m.
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