CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A $250,000 incentive pool will go toward attracting American Airlines to the University Park Airport in Centre County. If a deal is made, the airline would provide a minimum of 12 flights a week to the Charlotte International Airport in North Carolina.
Centre County Commissioners are using funds from the American Rescue Plan for the incentive package, as well as inviting local municipalities to participate. Commissioner Michael Pipe said, so far, Patton Township has agreed to give $12,500 toward the package.
“The opportunity that we have again to boost the airport as we come out of the pandemic, they took a really financial hit in the previous 18 months, but this would really allow them to see a lot of that travel return,” said Commissioner Pipe.
Commissioners said this is an opportunity for economic growth.
“This will help create jobs in Centre County, not just with the airport, but perhaps we’re more likely to either retain or attract entrepreneurial business, startups, etc.,” said Commissioner Mark Higgins.
“One of the real benefits of this is you’re going to start to see a lot more interest from Fortune 500 companies that really want to have a presence here in Centre County,” said Commissioner Steve Dershem. “It’ll give them the opportunity to have the transportation base that they require for their business models.”
Plus, they said this opens doors for expanded tourism.
“The tourism goes both ways,” said Commissioner Higgins. “People flying into Centre County can take advantage of the many wonderful tourism opportunities at Happy Valley, and at the same time, of course, Centre County residents being more easily able to visit attractions in the southeast U.S. and internationally.”
If American Airlines does not accept the incentive package at the meeting with the airport next week, Centre County will retain the funds.