MONTOURSVILLE, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – After being downgraded to just one commercial flight, today marks a suspension of service. For travelers, it could mean no flights to or from Williamsport Regional (IPT) until election day.
Starting October 7, commercial flights have been grounded at IPT. Jobs, although many part-time, at Williamsport Regional on the line. Executive director Rich Howell, like many airports, have seen certain increases despite the pandemic.
“It’s just not knowing has been you know really challenging for both the staff for the authority and the community,” said Howell. “Despite some of the information that came out the American press releases. I don’t see that this was a market-driven decision.”
Not much Howell and company at the airport could do besides soldier on with limited staff and general aviation. The silver lining? American Airlines planning to resume service on November 3.
“While we were hopeful that maybe we would not have the suspension,” added Howell. “We get caught in the middle of this with 13 other cities in the United States.”
Airport staff at the mercy of talks in Washington and airlines trying to sway Capitol Hill for more relief.
“If there is no investment in the airlines the airlines simply can’t, they’re not going to be profitable enough, if they run a flight from Williamsport to Detroit, Charlotte or Philadelphia,” noted Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport (AVP) executive director Carl Beardsley.
Many optimistic that talks in the halls of congress and support coming to the industry could see a quicker return to more commercial flights. In the meantime?
“We’ll just continue doing those things that we need to do and come back and provide a high-level service to our customers,” said Howell.
Williamsport Regional and other airports facing cutbacks as airlines deal with the devastating year.
Howell did say that there will be people continuing to work at IPT throughout the month. Some maintenance is even scheduled for spots where not having flights coming and going could benefit.