The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 3, 2014

Youngstown-Warren Airport seeks to land United

VIENNA, Ohio — Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport is seeking to woo United Airlines to the local airport.

Those aren’t just kind words. The airport is hoping to provide $1.2 million in grants as an enticement for United to land in Vienna.

Funds for the offer so far have come from a $789,000 Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Grant. That grant is based on the community being able to raise an additional $420,000 in matching funds.

Youngstown-based Cafaro Foundation has pledged $100,000 to the cause and the Western Reserve Port Authority, which operates the airport, is seeking to raise the remainder of the goal.

While Allegiant Airlines operates at Youngstown, the airport has been without daily service since 2003. United has been dismantling its hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and has slashed 41 destinations from that city. The Youngstown airport is hoping to pick up some of that lost business.

The port authority recently met with United representatives who are mulling daily flights to Chicago. By offering that, the authority said, passengers could make connecting flights to other cities in the U.S. or to international destinations.

YNGAir Partners, a nonprofit group that solicits funds for the airport, said it’s backing the idea. The group, along with other airport officials, raised more than $6 million in 2011 to support the airport.

Dennis Gartland, president of YNGAir Partners, said it’s time for the region to put its money where its mouth is. In 2011 the group set a goal of raising $3 million to $4 million to update the airport, but ultimately raised more than $6 million.

“Now we are calling on the region again to step up and provide the funding needed to bring the service they want,’’ Garland said in a news release.

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