DuBois Jefferson County Airport Highlight of Commissioners Meeting

5:29:16 dubois regional airportBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) — There wasn’t much business discussed at Tuesday’s Jefferson
County Commissioners meeting, but there was a lot of talk about the DuBois Jefferson County Airport.

Four companies recently submitted bids to provide local service to the troubled airport, and it seems the leading candidate is Southern Airways Express, which is located in Memphis, Tennessee.

Commissioners Jack Matson and Tom Pisarcik hadn’t heard which airline would service DuBois Jefferson.

Bob Shaffer, the airport manager since 1987, said the DuBois Jefferson County Airport Authority preferred Southern, mainly because of its commitment to the Pittsburgh market.

“We heard from the community and the county commissioners that having service to Pittsburgh is absolutely essential to our airport,” Shaffer said. “We expect to hear a decision in the next two to four weeks.”

According to Wikipedia, Southern Airways Express was founded in 2013, and its first flight was June 6, 2013. On October 1, 2014, the airline moved its Memphis hub from Olive Branch Airport to Memphis International Airport.

Whichever airline is chosen, it will provide Essential Air Service (EAS) to DuBois Jefferson. The United States Department of Transportation will make the appointment. It considers many things, including prices and which airline DuBois Jefferson prefers.

The three other airways that submitted bids to offer service are Boutique Air, Corporate Flight Management, and Silver Airways, which is the current carrier.

Southern and Boutique Air are the only airlines offering flights to Pittsburgh.

If Southern is approved, it would renew the DuBois to Pittsburgh service that existed for decades. That ended in 2008 when Mesa Airlines went out of business. Gulfstream Airlines took over before declaring bankruptcy in November 2010.

Silver offered flights to Cleveland before United Airlines decided to reduce its service to Cleveland. Silver currently offers service to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. According to its proposal, Southern Airways Express could begin service on October 1. It submitted three options with a minimum of 14 weekly trips to Pittsburgh and a maximum of 31. One option included 19 weekly round trips to Baltimore Washington International Airport.

Boutique Air had two options, with the second including 24 weekly round trips to Baltimore, Washington, and Pittsburgh.

Corporate Flight Management had two options. One included 18 weekly round trips to either BWI or Dulles International Airport. The second would be 24 weekly round trips to either BWI or Dulles.

Shaffer also confirmed that the airport is working on bringing general aviation maintenance back to the airport, which would be another source of income.

There was also discussion about the possibility of losing the ESA designation and the federal subsidy that goes with it.

Jack Matson Commissioner

“From our perspective, it was never in jeopardy,” Matson said. “In our talks with Bob, it didn’t seem to be a concern. We didn’t hear anything official from the federal level.”

“That federal subsidy comes up often,” Pisarcik said.

Also, it was reported that the financial audits will be done in August.

In other news, all county offices will be closed on Monday, July 4.

The next commissioners meeting will be at 10:30 a.m., on Wednesday, July 13.

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