Airport lands carrier for shuttle service

March 05, 2004|by TAMELA BAKER

US Airways Express will replace its current commuter air carrier at Hagerstown Regional Airport with Allegheny Airlines beginning May 2, a company representative said Thursday.

Allegheny, based in Harrisburg, Pa., is a wholly owned subsidiary of US Airways Group Inc. Allegheny will pick up the thrice-daily round-trip flights between Hagerstown and Pittsburgh International Airport and plans to add a fourth, according to US Airways spokesperson Amy Kudwa.

US Airways had dropped a fourth daily flight last year. Just last week, a US Airways spokesman said he didn't anticipate additional flights.


Kudwa said Allegheny also plans to merge with Piedmont Airlines, based in Salisbury, Md. After the merger, the carrier likely will continue as Piedmont Airlines, she said.

Shuttle America, based in Fort Wayne, Ind., has been flying the Hagerstown-Pittsburgh commuter route under the US Airways banner for two years. Shuttle America notified airport officials last month that it would not service Hagerstown after April 30. But Kudwa said Thursday that the airline would fly its scheduled routes on May 1, so there should be no disruption of service.

Allegheny, Piedmont and Shuttle America are among nine carriers providing shuttle services for US Airways, the only commercial passenger service at the airport.

Allegheny will be flying 37-seat, deHavilland Dash 8 turbo-prop aircraft on the route, Kudwa said.

Those aircraft are larger than the planes Shuttle America currently flies.

"I think passengers on the whole will find it a more comfortable experience," Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said.

Motz said that while she had "been talking with (US Airways) for a while," she had not been at liberty to announce the new carrier.

Since Shuttle America's decision to quit the route became public, Motz said people canceled flights from the airport. Now, she said, she wants to encourage people to fly out of Hagerstown.

"Whatever hesitation people may have had I hope they will move forward" and use the commuter service, she said.

Ticket prices, which Motz said fluctuate depending on the date of purchase, whether there is a Saturday stay and other factors, should not be affected by the change in carriers, Kudwa said.

The three daily departure times for the 55-minute flight to Pittsburgh are 6 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:49 p.m. Arrival times from Pittsburgh are 2:25 p.m., 6:30 p.m and 11:15 p.m.

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