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Study will show extent of airport ‘leakage’ — but finding fix is key

The Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority has approved plans for a $12,600 study to learn various statistics, including air passenger destinations and departures and what airports are being used by travelers.

The professional term for what they are seeking to learn is airport leakage, which refers to travelers avoiding the use of local airports to take advantage of lower fares or more convenient airline services elsewhere.

We await the results, and we suspect plenty of leakage will be found.

The local airport must compete with larger airports that are not that far away and have a larger volume of ticket buyers.

Wilkes-Barre. Harrisburg. State College. Philadelphia. Newark. The list goes on.

Of course, airlines go where there are passengers and frankly, Williamsport’s passenger volume — based on a lack of multiple carriers over the years — does not have the volume airlines seek to make their flights financially feasible.

But the airlines are to blame for this. The local airport has no control when it comes to scheduling flights. And the airlines have not done justice to the local airport because of how they schedule flights.

Sure, we can complain there are not enough options for passengers using and wanting to use the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville because of a lack of carriers here.

So, stuck between a rock and a hard place, how then can the local airport and the community at large attract more carriers and keep them?

How can the local airport convince the airlines to do a better job of scheduling flights and allowing for more options here?

This study must be the impetus for ultimately finding solid answers to that challenge.

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