Jefferson County Commissioners: DuBois Airport Vital to Area

airportBROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) — The DuBois Regional Airport was the main topic of discussion at Tuesday’s Jefferson County Commissioners meeting.

A quarterly invoice for $22,500 and a monthly invoice for $5,416.67 were approved for payment to the Airport, which has struggled financially for decades.

When asked about the transactions, Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik explained that the County had guaranteed $60,000 to the airport annually.

“The total amount could run as high as $153,000 if the airport met certain benchmarks, including having their audit done on time, things like that,” Pisarcik said. “We did it so the money would get spent properly.”

Commissioner Jack Matson said they are trying to meet the obligations of handshake agreements made many years ago.

“We are trying to keep a little bit of pressure on Clearfield County to recognize it as vital to the area.”

While Jefferson may contribute as much as $153,000 annually to the airport, Clearfield County has pledged $60,000.

Clearfield County’s budget for 2017 was a little more than $30 million while Jefferson’s was $27 million.

Matson also explained other efforts to bring more money into the airport.

“There is a newly-formed marketing company that I will be on, and we are going to work aggressively to bring in more advertising money, and we are working to try and get more companies to base their airplanes there. We also hope we can sell more fuel.

“Aviation fuel sales are the lifeblood, the biggest cash cow for the airport. It’s not passengers; it’s not food sales; it’s fuel.”

Matson said efforts to get STAT Med-Evac to relocate there were unsuccessful.

STAT, the emergency air service, moved to Clarion County Airport after Clarion Hospital entered into a new agreement with Allegheny Health Network and Life Flight emergency air service took over at the hospital.

Southern Airways, the new Essential Air Service provider at DuBois Regional Airport, has struggled to find enough pilots to man all the flights they said they would, according to Bob Shaffer, airport manager.

“Southern is working to get enough pilots,” Matson said. “They do maintenance on their own aircraft, but they have not offered that service to others who fly out of there.”

Southern Airways took over at DuBois January 3, and according to Shaffer, they had five more passengers on their planes in January than Silver Airways did in 2016.

Mark Cestari, the executive vice president of business development for Southern, said in the past that he wanted to double the amount of passengers that Silver did by July.

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