Tri-State Airport officials seek more destinations
Apr. 17, 2015 @ 12:01 AM
By BRANDON ROBERTS
KENOVA – Trips to more destinations from Tri-State Airport are possible if negotiations among airport officials and representatives from American Airlines go well at a June conference.
Air Council International-North America’s JumpStart Air Service Development Conference is June 1-3, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. Jerry Brienza, airport director, said Thursday at a meeting of the Tri-State Airport Authority that he and marketing director Beckie McKinley have scheduled meetings at the conference with representatives from American Airlines. American merged with U.S. Airways , which provides service at Tri-State.
“We’ll be making some arrangements to meet with (American Airlines’) planning department about getting new service to Chicago and some other places,” Brienza said. “… plant that seed so we could get Chicago and Dallas service, Philadelphia, maybe Las Vegas.”
U.S. Airways currently flies three flights per day from Tri-State Airport: one each at 6:40 a.m., 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., all of which are direct to Charlotte, North Carolina.
Brienza also told the board during his executive report that a new lease has been signed with Allegiant Air.
“Last week we wrapped up and came to terms with Allegiant on some new lease rates,” he said. “Allegiant has been operating at the same lease rate they started in 2006. It hasn’t been a problem – we still make money off of them – there are factors to consider such as our employees that started in 2006 have gotten raises, the equipment we purchased for them was old when we bought it and it’s now nine years older so a lot of it needs to be replaced, which means we have to purchase new equipment to support that. All these things they understood and agreed to the new lease rates, so we are happy about that.”
Members of the authority discussed other West Virginia airports adding service and how, so far, it has not hampered the number of people flying in and out of Huntington.
“It’s like Wal-Mart,” said Larry Poynter, a member of the authority. “It seems like they build one on top of another and yet they somehow all do well enough to survive.”
Expanding service options, Poynter said, does have its benefits.
“That startup they put there in Pikeville, Kentucky, that flies to Nashville, Tennessee, Appalachian Air, just hasn’t come anywhere close to what they hoped it would be,” he said. “It’s always a concern when you sort of have all your eggs in one basket.”
Follow reporter Brandon Roberts on Twitter @HD_Business.
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