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Local flights to BWI begin

January 03, 2002

Local flights to BWI begin



By SCOTT BUTKI
scottb@herald-mail.com


Four years after losing air service to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Hagerstown Regional Airport gained it again as daily air service from Hagerstown to Baltimore resumed Friday.

Boston-Maine Airways of Portsmouth, N.H., a division of Pan American, is taking passengers from Cumberland, Md., to BWI with a stop in Hagerstown through a route called the Clipper Connection.

About 12 people used the service on the first day, said Dan Fortnam, vice president of sales for Boston-Maine Airways. The planes are British Aerospace Jetstream 31s, which are 19-seat twin turboprops.

At BWI passengers can connect to other Pan American flights, he said.

USAirways stopped providing service to BWI in December 1997 because it no longer had a hub there, Hagerstown Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said.

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The airport immediately began working to find a way to resume the service, she said.

USAirways continues to provide service to Pittsburgh and connecting flights.

The new round-trip commuter service will be offered three times on weekdays and twice on Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays, Motz said. The introductory round-trip price is $59.

When the first flight stopped in Hagerstown Friday, the captain got off the plane, entered the terminal and personally welcomed the first passengers from the Hagerstown Regional Airport onto the service, she said. There were three passengers from the Hagerstown airport who took the first plane, she said.

The state has set aside $2.25 million through June 2002 for the new service. The next General Assembly will consider an additional $2 million subsidy for what state leaders consider an economic development tool.

While the service could conceivably end in July, she thinks the odds are good that the subsidy will be extended, Motz said.

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