Local airports may lose federal funding to run commercial flights.
The John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County and the Altoona-Blair County airports received notice from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) saying they may lose Essential Air Service Program funding, which subsidizes rural airports.
Both airports meet one program criterion: on average, they have ten passengers a day. However, both airports failed to meet the program’s second criterion: the $200 subsidy cap per passenger. Both airports exceed $200 per passenger.
Airport officials submitted petitions to stay in the program. In the meantime, they are encouraging passengers to use the local airports or risk losing the airports all together.
“I encourage them to use the service so we don’t risk losing that subsidy down the road,” said Thomas Keyes, the airport manager for the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.
Keyes is optimistic the airport will be allowed to stay in the program. In the past six months, Keyes said the airport saw a 43 percent surge in passengers flying in/out of the airport on average.
Keyes expects to hear back from the DOT later this summer.