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Other, Greater Needs Outweigh Opening Jamestown Airport

Ron Almeter made an interesting point recently to the federal Transportation Department – if there is ever a time to restore air service to the Chautauqua County Airport at Jamestown, this is it.

For as much as we have doubted the future of commercial airline service from the Jamestown Airport in the past, it makes some sense that travelers who have to fly may want to use smaller planes to reach one of Boutique Airlines’ hub cities. It’s certainly cheaper to run small flights out of airports like Jamestown than it is for the huge airline companies to fly jumbo jets.

Almeter also makes good points that the federal government may be able to do so under executive orders issued by President Donald Trump that would remove ridership requirements tied to Essential Air Service designations.

There are two arguments against Almeter’s request, however, that make us think it’s unlikely the federal government is going to reopen the airport anytime soon.

First is that Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants travelers to be quarantined from certain states as COVID-19 cases spike again. Those quarantine requirements are likely to place enough of a damper on any tourism- or business-related travel that the airport would still likely struggle to meet adequate ridership standards to keep the flights profitable for Boutique Airlines.

Second, given the ongoing pressure on federal officials for another round of stimulus and continued help to small businesses, it’s hard to justify using federal money to reopen an airport when there are such unmet needs for people struggling to get by and small businesses who are either open or trying their best to stay open.

Almeter makes an interesting argument to reopen the Jamestown airport and his hustle is appreciated. There just seem to be greater needs right now than our small airport.

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