Airport gets waiver to help daily operations

Local News

A small airport in the community received a waiver that will allow it to stay open.

The Essential Air Service, or EAS, is a federal program that provides subsidies for rural airports to give their communities access to the National Transportation System.

It costs airlines more than $200 to fly a passenger out of the Altoona-Blair County Airport in Martinsburg. The subsidies help pay for that extra cost to make sure everyone can afford to fly.

“There are over a million people in Pennsylvania that would be dislocation well over an hour from a local airport, so the EAS system in Pennsylvania is very important because we’re such a rural state, at least in the middle part of the state, and without the EAS system, we really would lose all this connectivity to the center of the state,” Tracy Plessinger, the airport’s manager, said.

Plessinger added the airport is essential not just for travellers, but everyone in the community.

“It’s excellent for business,” he said. “When a business is gonna locate in a community, one thing they want to know is can we get our sales people or whatever out to the other cities they need to go to, and can we get vendors in, those people that want to come buy our products or sell us products, can they get here easily.”

The EAS adjusts how much it pays subsidies each year to keep up with inflation.

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