WILLIAMSTOWN - The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport will continue to receive commercial service from Silver Airways after the United States Department of Transportation on Thursday approved the service.
"I'm glad it's done," said airport manager Terry Moore. "We (the Wood County Airport Authority members and airport officials) are pleased."
Earlier this week Moore said he was becoming anxious the transportation department had yet to announce whether the only air service bid from Silver Airways would be approved.
"I was starting to get a little nervous because I hadn't heard anything, but it's cleared up now and the new service will begin as planned on Monday," he said.
The transportation department approved the service, which will run from Monday through Sept. 30, 2014, following Silver Airway's withdrawal of a "hold-in-place" requirement.
"That was evidently the issue because as soon as that was pulled from the bid, the DOT approved the terms," Moore said.
A "hold-in-place" provision would not require the airline to continue service until a replacement airline is available to start if service is terminated.
If the provision had remained, Silver Airways could terminate service at any of the five airports in the Essential Air Service contract and left them without air service.
"It is a disastrous situation," Moore said. "Not having air service is death to airports."
Moore said he is pleased the transportation department approved the only air service bid received for the Essential Air Service in the contract: Wood County; Bradford, Pa.; Dubois, Pa.; Franklin/Oil City, Pa.; and Jamestown, N.Y.
"This is the (air) service we need and wanted to keep it," said Moore. "We are pleased to have Silver with us a couple more years."
Since Silver began provided four flights a day between the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport on Oct. 1, 2010, the local airport has seen a dramatic increase in the number of passengers.
The airline has reported an average of 100 more passengers a month when compared to the same month in the previous year.
The number of enplanements is important because airports that have at least 10,000 enplanements per year receive $1 million in federal Airport Improvement Project funds annually, airports with fewer passengers receive $150,000.
Moore added this new contract will not change the local service as the flight times and numbers will stay the same.
"The switch will be seamless," he said. "If the public didn't read the paper, they wouldn't know of any change; everything will remain as it is until Sept. 30, 2014."