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Airline to add service to Newark, N.J.

July 27, 1998|By MATTHEW BIENIEK

Beginning in September, passengers will be able to fly from Washington County Regional Airport to Newark, N.J., with only one stop along the way, John Presburg, an official of Chautauqua Airlines, said at a press conference on Monday.

One-stop passenger service to Newark International Airport from Hagerstown will begin Sept. 9, he said. There are many commuter connections into New York City from the airport, he said.

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The airline plans to make two flights from Hagerstown and two return trips from Newark each day Monday through Friday, said Presburg, vice president of marketing and planning for Chautauqua. The flights will include a 15-minute stop at Harrisburg, Pa.

On Sundays there will be one flight each way. There will be no flights on Saturday.

The aircraft to be used on the route is the 19-passenger British Aerospace J-31 jet prop, Presburg said.

Planes will leave Hagerstown at 7 a.m. and noon, Presburg said. The 7 a.m. flight should arrive at Newark by 8:30 a.m., he said.

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Flights from Newark to Hagerstown are scheduled at 9:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., he said.

Presburg said Chautauqua hopes to have 33 passengers a week in the first two months of operation on the new route.

"It's not a big number, but it's what we're looking for to start with," he said.

Presburg said the airline plans a special introductory fare to stimulate traffic on the new route. He said the amount of the fare will be decided by the end of the week, and will be available until Oct. 15.

Carolyn Motz, manager of the Washington County Regional Airport, said she's had many requests for service to the New York metropolitan area.

An additional evening flight to Pittsburgh is also planned to begin Sept. 9, said Presburg.

Chautauqua is the only commercial passenger carrier at the Washington County Regional Airport.

Presburg said 53,378 passengers used the service in 1997.

Motz said the Pittsburgh flights carried 75,000 passengers last year. With the addition of Newark, the airport resumes service to a second major city.

Service from Hagerstown to Baltimore was halted last year. The route accounted for about a quarter of the airport's business before it was canceled.

US Airways Express eliminated passenger service to Baltimore in December 1997 with little notice to the airport and its customers, Motz said.

The decision followed problems with the flights that began in September 1997.

Flights were canceled for a week in September 1997 because of crew shortages due to training problems at Mesa Airlines, the New Mexico carrier that ran the service for US Airways Express.

The Baltimore service was provided by various carriers for 27 years.

The Hagerstown-Baltimore flights carried about 25,000 people a year before cancellation, said Motz.

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