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Without Commercial Air Service, Is Airport A Good Investment?

Reading the December U.S. Transportation Department order once again denying Essential Air Service to the Jamestown airport, one has to wonder if commercial air service is ever coming back.

It’s clear federal officials don’t think 10 passengers a day are going to use the Jamestown airport unless something major changes in our area. The federal government has said pretty clearly that any claims that a new provider will reach ridership quotas with better advertising, a better service and a little bit nicer plane than prior providers aren’t going to change the federal government’s mind.

In the federal government’s eyes, Chautauqua County does not have enough people who want to take commercial flights from Jamestown each day to justify a $2 million cost to taxpayers. Jamestown is close enough to Erie and Buffalo that the bigger airports siphon too much traffic away from the Jamestown airport.

It makes no sense to submit this plan again after the federal government denied two iterations of a county-airline partnership. The federal government clearly does not want to throw good money after bad down the rabbit hole that is the Jamestown airport.

It’s time for county officials to figure out if the Jamestown airport is a good investment without commercial air service — because in our view, that flight has left and isn’t coming back.

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