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Roomier planes to serve local travelers

April 19, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Commercial planes flying from the Hagerstown Regional Airport soon will be able to carry more passengers, airline officials said Tuesday.

Beginning May 7, the US Airways Express Hagerstown fleet will be entirely 30-seat aircraft, said Jeffrey Jones, vice president of planning for Indianapolis-based Chautauqua Airlines, which operates US Airways Express in Hagerstown.

Jones said the company now flies the 19-seat Jetstream J-31 and the newer 30-seat Saab 340 planes out of the Hagerstown airport. On weekdays, the airline makes six daily flights between Hagerstown and Pittsburgh.

The smaller planes are being replaced as part of an "overall program of upgrading our fleet," Jones said.

He said the 30-seat planes have more headroom than the 19-seat planes.

The larger planes have a bathroom, while the smaller planes do not.

"We are pleased to offer our Hagerstown area passengers greater comfort while traveling in the Saab 340. We fully believe that our customers will appreciate the stand-up headroom, lavatory and in-flight service offered on this fast, state-of-the-art regional aircraft," Chautauqua President Bryan K. Bedford said in a statement.

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According to the statement, Hagerstown Regional Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said, "We are so pleased that this airline is improving its service for the travelers that use our airport. The new planes are much more comfortable and roomier, provide better amenities, and are a pleasure to fly in."

Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission Executive Director John Howard was quoted as saying, "We are asked all the time about commercial air service capabilities in our county. Companies look at what is available and offered in an area, before choosing to locate.

"By having increased convenience and better service, we know that our county is much more attractive to the business community. It is more than just quality of life, it is also about opportunities."

Chautauqua Airlines has a maintenance facility at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

"Jobs are created by aviation-related companies and by companies increasing services, we look at this latest news as good for economic development. Our airport is undergoing positive changes, and this enhanced service is one of the many new things happening in our county," Howard said.

Chautauqua Airlines is owned by investment funds organized and managed by Wexford Management LLC, a Greenwich, Conn.- based diversified investment company.

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