Chautauqua County officials, businesses and travelers can breathe easy after Tuesday's announcement of a new airline for the Jamestown Airport.
After six months of research, debate and waiting on an answer from the Department of Transportation, Florida-based Sun Air was announced as the new service provider, effective Oct. 1.
County Executive Vince Horrigan and Sen. Chuck Schumer made the announcement. Both have been heavily involved in the process of finding a replacement for Silver Airways, a subsidiary of United Airlines, which announced termination of services in February due to substantial losses in revenue companywide.
Sen. Chuck Schumer
"The continuation of air service in Chautauqua County is a crucial tool the county can use to attract new businesses to the region and help current businesses continue to grow," Schumer said. "Losing service there would have undoubtedly set the local economy back, but with this extension of federal support, and now a new carrier set to take off in the region - the sky is the limit for Jamestown's airport."
Sun Air will offer four flights to Pittsburgh on smaller 10-seat planes on weekdays along with two flights on Saturdays and Sundays.
With the help of Essential Air Service funding, federal aid through the DOT, Sun Air was the county's chosen provider. However, county officials had to wait for official DOT approval.
"With this extension of federal support, and now a new carrier set to take off in the region - the sky is the limit for Jamestown's airport."
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Silver's announcement in February was one of the first major issues for Horrigan after taking office.
The news came just after Schumer had stressed the importance of the airport in terms of economic impact in Chautauqua County.
Silver has been required by the EAS to provide service until a new carrier was chosen.
"We are very excited to continue to have uninterrupted air passenger service in Chautauqua County," Horrigan said. "Sun Air's low fares and great destination will be an asset to our community. In addition to Sen. Schumer, I thank Department of Public Facilities Director George Spanos, Interim Airport Manager Dave Sanctuary, and the members of the Chautauqua County Airport Commission for their work in selecting our new air carrier."
Silver Airways has received federal orders to continue providing service from Jamestown to Cleveland through Sept. 30.