YOUNGSTOWN - A new airline will provide flights for casino junkets from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport after the Western Reserve Port Authority voted Wednesday to approve the deal.
Republic Airlines, doing business as Frontier Airlines, will use a 90-seat Embraer regional jet to transport passengers from the local airport to Atlantic City. Initially, the flights, sponsored by Caesars / Harrah's resort, will be in place of Sky King's junkets, but airport Director of Aviation Dan Dickten said eventually the airline would like to add regular junkets to Las Vegas as well.
''That is something we don't have right now, and we want to add,'' Dickten said.
In addition, Dickten said Allegiant Air, which already provides vacation getaways to Florida and Myrtle Beach, Va., from Vienna, also is considering adding flights to Las Vegas.
Attempts to lure other regular daily flights to the airport are continuing, Dickten added, noting that a travel bank has secured $4.5 million in pledges from local potential passengers.
The airport has been working to obtain non-binding pledges from potential local passengers indicating how much they would use local flights if they were available. The goal was to reach $5 million by the end of the year, but Dickten said if they reach the goal before then, they will keep collecting pledges.
''The airlines are very pleased with that activity. It shows them there is community support for air service,'' Dickten said.
The airport has been entertaining the possibility of daily service by connector carriers of United, Delta or United Airways.
Also Wednesday, Dickten announced the airport has received a conditional occupancy permit for the newly constructed T-hangar. Dickten said the 14 tenants can begin moving into the new facility as early as next week. The building is fully leased, and eight more tenants are on a waiting list for planned construction of a second hangar.
The Western Reserve Port Authority earlier this year borrowed $470,000 from Farmers Bank to build the first of three T-hangars. The building is 1,050 square feet compared to existing 854-square-foot hangars built in the 1940s.
The hangars will alleviate a shortage of adequate hangar space so the airport can capture a larger share of the region's general aviation business, which includes business and private aircraft.