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Airport manager tries to attract commuter airlines with survey

November 09, 2000

Airport manager tries to attract commuter airlines with survey



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The Hagerstown Regional Airport is conducting a survey of business travelers in an attempt to get better regional air service.

About 75 percent of airport passengers are business travelers, said Airport Manager Carolyn Motz.

Airport employees mailed the survey to 1,100 people within a 30-mile radius of the airport, Motz said.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission also sent out 500 copies of the survey to 500 businesses, commission Deputy Director Tim Troxell said.

The hope is to get more commuter airlines to serve the airport. The Hagerstown airport offer daily flights on USAirways Express to Pittsburgh, a USAirways hub. They lost service to Baltimore-Washington International Airport in the 1990s.

Motz said she and other airport officials realize that Hagerstown has been losing some passengers to other airports.

"Within 85 miles of our airport we have substantial competition," Motz said. Those include Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Dulles International Airport, Ronald Reagan National Airport and the airport in Harrisburg, Pa., she said.

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The Hagerstown airport can offer some services that those airports can't, according to Motz.

The Hagerstown airport is "hassle-free" because passengers don't have to park far away or in satellite parking and don't have to show up an hour before the scheduled take-off time, she said.

Ideally, the survey data will be used to show other potential airlines that airport customers using the Hagerstown airport are pleased with the services provided, she said.

Motz said she will send the results to United Express, USAirways, TWA Express, Comair and Midway.

She said the survey is intended to answer these questions: Who is the customer base? What airlines do they use? Where do they fly? How often? And why do they use other airports instead of Hagerstown?

In a letter asking for participation in the survey, she writes: "You may already know that the airport provides nearly $50 million dollars of economic impact to the area annually. Adding to the air service is essential and requested daily. The only way we have to prove ample passengers, however, is to hear from local folks in the four state area."

She has hand-carried the survey to local service clubs, she said.

If others want a copy of the survey, they can call her at 791-3333, Motz said.

There is no firm deadline for survey results but she'd like to have results back by Thanksgiving, she said.

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