Silver Airways to continue service at DuBois Regional Airport|
Saturday, September 29, 2012
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
REYNOLDSVILLE - The news that members of the Clearfield and Jefferson Counties Regional Airport Authority had been hoping to hear materialized at yesterday's meeting, with a report Silver Airways will continue as the essential air service provider at the DuBois Regional Airport.
Silver Airways, formerly Gulfstream Airlines, is currently the commercial air carrier at the airport making flights daily to and from Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. Earlier this year, it submitted a bid to U.S. Department of Transportation, to continue in that capacity for another two years.
Flights from DRA are subsidized through the federally funded essential air service program that ensures rural airports will receive commercial passenger service from certified air carriers.
The authority, at an earlier meeting, approved sending a letter in support of Silver Airways continuing to provide service to U.S.DOT.
At yesterday's meeting, Robert Shaffer, airport manager, told the authority, he had received an e-mail with the news late Thursday afternoon.
Shaffer said he expects to report to the authority at its October meeting that Silver has signed and returned contracts with the authority to rent space in both the terminal and the hangar.
Shaffer also noted although Silver Airways was the successful bidder to provide essential air service at Altoona-Blair County Airport and John Murtha Airport, Johnstown and the authority had hoped contracts with those near nearby airports could mean an expansion and more jobs at its aircraft maintenance facility that will not happen with the aircraft repairs being done at the company's Florida facility. "We had really hoped the maintenance would come this direction but it went south," Shaffer said.
In other business, the authority:
• reported a work session was held recently with the finance committee to begin preparations for the 2013 budget. Shaffer provided members with a draft of the spending plan and said it would be reviewed and tentative approval will be considered at the October meeting.
• said it is advertising through CareerLink for a full-time employee. Shaffer said he hopes to review resumes in the coming make and hire for the position shortly.
• noted work is progressing at the site in the air commerce park purchased by Orion Drilling Co. The Corpus Christi, Texas-based company purchased land earlier as a base for drilling rig operations used in the extraction of Marcellus and Utica layers' natural gas.
Shaffer said employees from Francis J. Palo, Clarion, are working to level the nearly 11.5-acre site and build a water retention pond. Orion's contract has also started to construct an office on the property. The authority also ratified a subcontract between Palo and Sekula Sign Corporation, DuBois to install a new marquee-style sign along Aviation Way.
Shaffer said a $385,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation's Bureau of Aviation, was received for the sign however there will likely be a delay in receiving the funding so the authority will be asked at the October meeting to approve interim financing from a local bank until the grant is released.
• noted work is continuing on the new wildlife assessment and plan of action ordered by the federal aviation administration. Shaffer noted he had an opportunity recently to speak with the biologist from Penn State University, DuBois campus, who is the sub-contractor for the work and was told he has seen nothing on the airport property that is of great concern.
Shaffer said the nearly-year long process of night surveys and wildlife evaluations are nearly complete. The information from the surveys and studies will be compiled into a plan of action for the airport at a cost of approximately $100,000.
• heard work started this week to replace soffit and fascia on the airport's administrative building. Shaffer said the substructure was not as deteriorated as originally thought and the authority would be able to delete a portion of the work estimated to cost more than $13,500.
The authority also approved change orders related to the project including asbestos abatement at a cost of $6,097 and new water valves and increased water feed lines for the restrooms at a cost of $1,684.
The authority's next meeting is Oct. 26 at 8:30 a.m. at the airport terminal's conference room.