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Williamsport Regional Airport gets shot in the arm with funding

WILLIAMSPORT — A nearly $1 million funding stream could help keep commercial air service flying at the Williamsport Regional Airport.

Airport Executive Director Richard Howell confirmed that a $950,000 Federal Small Community Air Service Program grant will go a long way toward bringing another airline.

The local airport will receive the second highest dollar amount awarded to a total of 22 airports targeted for the money.

“To be qualified for this you must be a small hub,” he said.

Howell said the grant would be part of funding air service from Williamsport to Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

However, he conceded the snag to continuing with commercial service after American Airlines flies its last flight from Williamsport in late September is finding an alternative carrier.

The rise in recent weeks of the Delta Variant strain of COVID-19 could most definitely hurt the whole airline industry.

The problem of finding pilots to meet the demand for air service is yet another issue.

“If we don’t have service in October, it won’t because we don’t have a bad market or are not selling seats,” he said.

For now, airport officials are in contact with different airlines to attract them to the local market.

“We have had some very fruitful conversations,” he said.

Among those airlines is SkyWest, which has provided what Howell referred to as a letter of support to operate out of Williamsport under the United Express brand.

“It was not a letter of commitment,” he said. “They wouldn’t be flying out of Williamsport till next year.”

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