Tues 11:20 am: Cafaro gifts $100K to help airline startup

YOUNGSTOWN – Cafaro Foundation is donating $100,000 to a local community group working to establish daily air service at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

The funds are being provided to YNGAir Partners, a non-profit organization that works with the Western Reserve Port Authority, to help guarantee profitability for a commercial carrier during a startup phase of service at the local airport. Airport officials have been in discussions with United Airlines about the possibility of the company providing twice-daily connections to Chicago O’Hare Airport. YNGAir Partners has been soliciting both public and private sources to contribute funds to supplement $1.2 million in federal and local funds already earmarked as a “revenue guarantee” for such startup service. YNGAir Partners has said it hopes to raise an additional $400,000 to $500,000 for that purpose.

A prepared statement said the donation is being made because Cafaro Foundation leaders realize for any local economy to flourish, a rapid transportation link to the rest of the world is a vital necessity.

“We hope that this $100,000 gift from our family and our charitable foundation will serve as a catalyst for other contributions,” said William A. Cafaro, co-president of Cafaro. “The many companies in our area collectively spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in airfare annually. The need is there. Why not make the service more convenient than having to drive to flights originating in Cleveland, Akron or Pittsburgh?”

Cafaro Co-President Anthony Cafaro Jr. believes business and even leisure travelers would benefit, and called it an “investment in our economic future.”

For more on this story, log on to www.tribtoday.com or read Wednesday’s Tribune Chronicle.