JAMESTOWN – Funding for the Chautauqua County Airport in Jamestown may be in jeopardy due to a decline in passenger traffic last year.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Friday called on the federal Department of Transportation to grant the Jamestown airport a one-year waiver to maintain its status in the critical Essential Air Service program and prevent it from losing more than $1.9 million a year in federal funding.
The airport missed the mark for passengers by four-tenths of a point each day. It reportedly had 9.6 passengers per day and 10 were required.
At a press conference at the airport, Schumer also revealed details of new growth strategies for the airport so it can be able to be well above the 10-passenger threshold. He said that without the crucial funding from this year’s EAS program, Jamestown’s growth may be halted.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi said, “I want to thank Sen. Schumer for pushing for this waiver to enable the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport to maintain its Essential Air Service status. Through the efforts of county government and, in particular, under the guidance of Airport Manager Sam Arcadipane, there have been significant strides made that will no doubt increase passenger utilization in and out of this airport during the coming months. Commercial airline passenger service is an important and indispensable component of our economic development strategy for the greater Jamestown area.”
Schumer pointed out that, already in the last three months, passenger counts are up 17 percent from their year-ago totals and the airport expects that number to continue to increase.
Schumer argued that the Jamestown airport should be granted a waiver this year to keep its federal funding of $1.9 million secure, so that it can continue its expected growth.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan also attended the press conference.