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More minor turbulence for Sun Air's Hagerstown plans

December 13, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • In this file photo, Sun Air Chief Pilot Mark Reichard performs a post-flight inspection of the company's Piper Chieftain 2 pilot 8 passenger plane at Hagerstown Regional airport. Sun Air is delaying its plan to expand commercial service at Hagerstown Regional Airport until early 2013, according to Phil Ridenour, the airport's director.
Herald-Mail file photo

Sun Air is delaying its plan to expand commercial service at Hagerstown Regional Airport until early 2013, according to Phil Ridenour, the airport’s director.

The company started flying between Hagerstown and Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia on Nov. 5, four days later than the carrier first expected. The delay was attributed, in part, to delays caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Only one passenger from the public flew any of the legs on the first two round-trips between Hagerstown and Dulles. Someone from the Federal Aviation Administration also was a passenger on opening day.

The company’s plan was to start with 14 flights a week, then increase to 24 flights a week after about a month.

However, the company has postponed that expansion, Ridenour said.

He said Tuesday that Sun Air hasn’t been able to get all of the planes and to train all of the pilots it needs.

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“We hope to go with the increased flight schedule starting January 3rd,” Ridenour said.

Reached by email, David Hackett of Sun Air responded that he was on the road and didn’t have time to comment.

Ridenour said Tuesday that some passengers have used the Sun Air service to Dulles. He wasn’t able to provide exact numbers by Thursday afternoon.

“It’s been fairly low,” he said, “but on the other hand, we haven’t done a lot of marketing for that service yet, just simply because there’s only two flights a day.”

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved Sun Air to serve both Hagerstown and Lancaster Airport in Lititz, Pa., through Sept. 30, 2015.

Sun Air is receiving a federal Essential Air Service subsidy for serving a community that is not close to a major market.

The company is using nine-passenger planes.

Sun Air replaced Cape Air, which ended its service between Hagerstown and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 31.

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