Port authority renews pact with consultant

YOUNGSTOWN — The Western Reserve Port Authority Wednesday renewed its contract with the consulting agency that has been working with local airport officials to secure new commercial flight service at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

The port authority, which runs the local airport in Vienna, agreed to pay Volaire Aviation Consulting $3,500 per month.

John Moliterno, the port authority’s executive director, said the contract, which extends to December 2020, has an opt-out clause that allows either party to terminate the agreement with a 30-day notice.

The port authority started working with Volaire this past summer through a short-term contract as part of its effort to offer commercial service at the airport.

“We’re very happy with the work they’ve done so far and are confident in their ability to help do what we need to do,” Moliterno said.

In August, Allegiant Air, which has provided discount leisure flights on a regular basis at the local airport more than a decade, announced it plans to end service here Jan. 4.

The Las Vegas-based company is the only carrier that offers commercial service at the local airport.

Word of Allegiant’s departure came a year to the day after Aerodynamics Inc., referred to as ADI, stopped its Great Lakes JetExpress flights from Youngstown to Chicago — a matter that is playing out in federal court as the Western Reserve Port Authority, which runs the local airport, sued the airline, which then countersued.

A final pretrial conference in that case has been set for 1:30 p.m. July 16, with the trial scheduled to start Aug. 6 at the U.S. Courthouse in Youngstown.

For the past several months, local airport officials have been in discussions with other carriers in an effort to provide alternative service and replace Allegiant and ADI.

Moliterno, Dan Dickten, local aviation director, and Mike Mooney of Volaire have met with several airlines in recent months.