Travel increases at Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport

Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport General Manager Jeff McDougle talks during Tuesday’s meeting of the Airport Authority. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)

PARKERSBURG — The number of passengers traveling by air from the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport continues to climb, according to airport General Manager Jeff McDougle.

“We’ve had 375 people in the last two weeks,” he said to members of the Airport Authority Tuesday at its monthly meeting. “That’s a lot of full flights. The fourth quarter was our best quarter in three years, since 2013.”

Enplanements for the quarter were 1,482 compared to 1,318 for 2015 and 1,226 for 2014.  Enplanements for the month of December were 542, which was 19 more than 2015 (523) and 98 more than 2014 (444). Total passengers for the year were 4,546 compared to 4,424 in 2015.

McDougle said ViaAir’s goal was 1,500 passengers a quarter, or 6,000 for a year.

“And they were almost there,” he said. “We went strong to St. Augustine with 79 passengers and 57 to Sanford. I know we had a good number of people flying out of here the day of  West Virginia’s bowl game against Miami. Hopefully, next year we can coordinate a bit better if the Mountaineers get back to another one next year.”

ViaAir’s presence has increased foot traffic in the airport, he said.

“We are seeing people walk up and buy tickets for flights. During the holiday we were seeing more families in the airport, either leaving for a destination or coming in to visit,” McDougle said. “We haven’t seen that in a long time. We’re very optimistic because our loads are far exceeding the expectations of ViaAir right now and we are doing better than most others in West Virginia.”

McDougle added ViaAir’s fares and destinations are affecting other airports as well and not in ways those airports desire. “We’re starting to see numbers of enplanements here from where they would normally board —  like Clarksburg and Charleston. And when I say Charleston, I mean the number of travelers coming from Ripley and Jackson County when they normally would head to Charleston.

“We’re not having a lot of cancellations so people are having confidence in being able to travel from here without a lot of problems.”

In other airport business, McDougle reported:

∫ The airport will continue to receive its $4.50 Passenger Facility Charge per passenger. The approval gives the airport a 10-year extension through 2027. The charge is used for funding the airport’s local portion of past and future airport improvement projects. The Department of Transportation’s $200 per seat subsidy waiver was approved in late November,

∫ Fuel sales for December 2016 were 1,934 gallons above 2015, increasing from 24,152 to 26,086 gallons.

∫ The airport is still receiving a check from Silver Airlines, the airline serving the airport before ViaAir, for $500 every two weeks to meet legal obligations.