Airport without carrier service

October 02, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN - For the first time in 76 years, Hagerstown Regional Airport does not have passenger airline service.

The airport's only commercial carrier, Air Midwest, left Monday after its contract to fly US Airways Express flights to and from the airport expired.

Air Midwest officials had said the carrier would not continue its twice-daily flights between Hagerstown and Pittsburgh without federal funding.

Although President Bush signed into law Saturday a spending bill that includes temporary funding for the Essential Air Service subsidy program, Air Midwest did not renew its contract.

Calls and e-mails to Air Midwest's parent company, Mesa Air Group, were not returned Monday.

Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said airport officials are not sure what's next for the facility.

"We want to get this taken care of as quickly as we possibly can," Motz said.

The federal funding, which was added to a stopgap spending bill by Democratic Maryland senators Benjamin L. Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, extends the Essential Air Service program through Nov. 15.


The subsidy program had been set to expire Sept. 30.

Essential Air Service provides subsidies to carriers that fly to small community airports like Hagerstown Regional Airport.

Air Midwest received $650,000 per year under the program to fly to Hagerstown. Officials from the company said the flights would not be profitable without the subsidy.

Cardin and Mikulski introduced separate legislation in August to extend the Essential Air Service program through 2012. That bill has not moved out of committee since it was introduced.

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