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Passenger airline flights to Philly to resume Wednesday

MONTOURSVILLE-American Airlines, which left the Williamsport Regional Airport in late 2020, will begin running commercial passenger flights to and from Philadelphia next Wednesday.

Airport Executive Director Richard Howell told the Williamsport Sun-Gazette the recent approval of federal COVID-19 relief funding includes money for airports, thus convincing American to resume service.

But “we would rather still be going to Charlotte and we will continue to work on that,” he emphasized.

In mid-August, Americans Airlines launched local flight service to and from the busy hub of Charlotte, N.C., as a means of attracting more passengers.

But shortly after, it abruptly announced an end to that service – indeed an end to all service at Williamsport in early November – due to declines in travel caused by COVID-19.

Since that time, there have been no commercial flights in and out of the airport at Montoursville, which has remained open to service private planes and other operations.For now, flights will arrive from Philadelphia and depart to that city once a day.

The service is expected to remain in place until at least March 31, according to Howell.

Much of the airport authority’s $1.8 million budget for 2021 is made up of federal relief funds.

Howell said the airport has stood prepared to again accept commercial air traffic.

“We have had all our procedures and practices in place,” he said. “Security and certification programs are in place too.”

In the meantime, Howell said he and other airport officials are continuing to explore attracting other commercial passenger carriers.

However, the immediate goal is to successfully market the return next week of passenger service to the airport.

“I hope,” he said. “This is the slow time of year. We will do what we can to make it happen.”

The schedule calls for a 50-seat passenger jet to provide early afternoon flights to and from the airport.

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