BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County Commissioners are in a holding pattern with regard to the DuBois-Jefferson County Airport.
There has been no word from the Federal Aviation Administration on a new carrier for the airport or on the grant needed to attract the airline.
“I heard that there was some problem with the paperwork submitted by two airports in West Virginia and that was the cause of the delay,” said Jefferson County Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik.
The U. S. Department of Transportation is reviewing the bids that were submitted by several airlines. The airport’s current carrier is Silver Airlines.
If selected, Southern Airways Express could begin service Oct. 1, according to their proposal. They submitted three options. The first would be 19 weekly round trips to Pittsburgh and 19 weekly round trips to Baltimore Washington International, with an average fare of $45 and a grand total of $2,967,587. The second proposal has 14 weekly round trips to PIT and 19 weekly round trips to BWI for an average fare of $48 and a grand total of $2,760,404. The third proposal has 31 weekly round trips to PIT, with an average fare of $25 with a grand total of $2,640,298.
The plan will never get off the ground unless the airport receives a federal Essential Air Service grant.
The United States Department of Transportation provides eligible EAS communities with access to the National Air Transportation System.
This is generally accomplished by subsidizing two round trips a day with 30- to 50-seat aircraft, or additional frequencies with aircraft with 9-seat or fewer, usually to a large- or medium-hub airport.
The Department currently subsidizes commuter and certified air carriers to serve approximately 60 communities in Alaska and 115 communities in the lower 48 contiguous states that otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.
The airport received notification from USDOT concerning the passenger count/price ratio for the airport. The rate of subsidy per passenger has a cap of $200. Currently, DUJ is at $304 per cap. The airport board requested a waiver.
The cash strapped airport has had difficulty making ends meet in recent years. In fact the airport could not pay for its mandated annual audits until the Jefferson County Commissioners paid for the 2013 audit.
The Jefferson County Commissioners increased the subsidy for the airport from $80,000 to $155,000 this year. Clearfield County continues to give the airport $80,000 annually.