Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bradford Regional Airport (KBFD) numbers remain strong, but waiver still needed for subsidy

Departures from Bradford Regional Airport during September remained strong, according to a report Wednesday to the airport authority.

Ryan Dach, Southern Airways Express Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager, reported departures numbered 345 while 345 arrivals were recorded for a daily average of 13.24 passengers. Ninety-one percent of the scheduled flights operated. Dach said, "Our University of Pittsburgh at Bradford numbers remain strong, and there is a lot of that traffic now."

Mark Cestari, who was recently promoted to Southern Airways Express chief commercial officer, attended the meeting, and noted the short distance the Robert Morris University is to the Pittsburgh International Airport. He also provided an airline update. After experiencing tremendous growth and faced with a pilot shortage, Cestari said of the airline, "We're off the pace of last year, but with an accelerated process, there 15 new pilots in the pipeline. Two local pilots are coming online."

Cestari said SAE has encouraged the St. Bonaventure University students to use the Bradford Regional Airport as part of the low-fare airline's Campus Connect. SAE also plans to introduce Community Connect, a discount program designed for county employees in McKean and Warren counties.

Efforts are being made to capture a larger share of the traveling public, as well as the business market.

Airport Manager Alicia Dankesreiter, pointing to Oct. 1 as the start of the federal fiscal year, said it is important that enplanements increase.

Dankesreiter said the U.S. Department of Transportation reviews airports every two years to determine if they meet the requirements to stay in the Essential Air Service, the program that provides federal subsidies to airlines that serve small and rural commercial airports. A data entry error showed that Bradford 's average passenger count of 8.7 fell under the EAS minimum of ten and the per passenger subsidy exceeded the required $200, resulting in the airport receiving a termination letter. The correct data showed average daily passenger traffic at Bradford was actually more than 13, but the per passenger subsidy was $238.

"Our daily average passenger counts will have to increase to 16 in order to meet the $200 figure," Dankesreiter said.

Dankesreiter said the airport will cite the correct figures in seeking a waiver from the EAS eligibility requirements. "That means we must justify what we're doing to reach the $200 figure."

In another item, Dankesreiter said the McKean County state police barracks are to be located on airport property at Airport Road. Miller Brothers Construction Inc. of Schuylkill Haven, is the general contractor. Groundbreaking is slated for May 2018 with occupancy set for December.

Brian Wolfel, engineering manager for GAI, the airport authority's engineering firm, reported on several airport projects. After considering several options, it has been decided to install an electric operated door at one of the hangars. The project will go out for bids later this month. The crack sealing and repainting of Runway 14/32 is also part of future work.

Facilities manager David Thomas said the airport's triennial evaluation meeting recap has provided all parties in that emergency drill in August with recommendations for any improvements in future drills.

Five new firefighting outfits have been ordered, Thomas added. "The new bunker gear were ordered due to our current units reaching their five-year date of service," he said. "They will extend our wearable date code out to ten years rather than the five years, which was provided by the current proximity gear."

Original article can be found here ➤

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