What we need is partner to provide reliable air service
Say it isn’t so.
News that commercial flights will not be returning to the Williamsport Regional Airport anytime soon certainly is disheartening.
American Airlines, the sole commercial carrier here, recently decided to stop our local air service.
That decision followed what was supposed to be a one-month suspension of flights that began just as a new service to Charlotte, North Carolina, was being implemented. That service was in effect for a mere two days in October before commercial flights were suspended for what was to be one month.
Unfortunately, when American pulled the plug early, it did not give the local airport a chance to demonstrate that the new service could be successful. We cannot help but take a dim view of American Airlines now that it has decided not to return here at all in 2021.
The carrier did not provide the local airport with a reason, though local officials believe it had to do with lower-than-expected passenger loads.
Of course, the ongoing pandemic has had a big impact on travel numbers everywhere. Williamsport is no different in that respect.
By stopping service here, however, we feel that American has done a great disservice to our region.
The good news is that our local airport officials are dedicated to finding a new carrier.
Richard Howell, airport executive director, is optimistic that he will be able to strike a deal early next year.
And why wouldn’t another carrier want to service the local airport? It has an attractive, new 29,000-square-foot passenger terminal with modern security features and a large community of personal and business travelers who were excited about the Charlotte hub. We don’t want to see the money that was poured into that upgrade go to waste, and we don’t want local travelers denied the opportunity to fly out of the local facility.
Local business and industry need reliable, regular air service in and out of the local airport. Having none can certainly impact jobs and growth.
We wish Howell success as he negotiates with a new carrier and for that carrier to make a commitment to our region. What Lycoming County needs is a true partner that will provide reliable air service at the Williamsport Regional Airport.