Today, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced that the federal Department of Transportation has found Jamestown Airport eligible for and will provide roughly $1.9 million in Essential Air Service funding this year. This funding was at risk of lapsing because the airport was slightly short of the minimum number of passengers per day usually required to receive the funding.
In January, Schumer visited Jamestown Airport to push for continued EAS funding and urged DOT to take a second look at the Jamestown Airport's passenger totals and make an exception, if need be, for Jamestown. Upon further review of Jamestown's passenger totals, the US Department of Transportation issued notice that Jamestown would continue to receive federal support. Schumer revealed today that the extension of EAS funding for Jamestown Airport has led several regional airlines to submit proposals for continued air service at Jamestown.
"The Department of Transportation's decision to continue Essential Air Service funding at Jamestown Airport is great news for the airport and Chautauqua County businesses and residents alike. Most importantly, the continuation of federal support is a crucial tool the county can use to attract regional carriers to fly in and out of Jamestown," said Schumer. "Jamestown is a growing airport that provides numerous benefits to the region, connecting residents with travel destinations and encouraging tourism in Chautauqua County's famous Concord grape region. Losing service there would have undoubtedly set the local economy back, but with this extension of federal support, the Jamestown Airport has already received several proposals for continued air service ensuring the economic boost the airport gives to the region will remain for years to come."
"When Silver Airlines announced that they would be ending their passenger service in and out of Jamestown we turned to Sen. Schumer for help. As a result DOT promptly issued a new request for proposal resulting in two bids for service which are currently under review. We are fortunate to have Sen. Schumer fighting for us here in Chautauqua County," said County Executive Vince Horrigan.
Without funding from the federal Essential Air Service program, many of Jamestown's plans to grow their airport would have been derailed. The Chautauqua County/Jamestown Airport services the Western New York region, and stimulates industry and tourism within the area. With just under 10,000 firms documented in 2007, the small but vibrant Chautauqua County community benefits from the airport, which connects it to the broader region. For example, Federal Express has daily flights between the Chautauqua County/Jamestown Airport and Buffalo. According to Schumer, this is a vital component to supporting business and tourism in the region, which relies on the influx of visitors every year. Most notably, as one of the largest grape-producing regions in New York state, Chautauqua County benefits from Jamestown Airport supporting the region's growing wine industry.