VIENNA - If the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport offered regularly scheduled daily flights, 128 local business leaders, residents and officials would spend more than $4.23 million a year to use those flights.
And that doesn't include local oil and natural gas drilling companies, which likely would boost those numbers even higher.
Airport officials have been collecting the non-binding commitments since early September from area residents and businesses in an attempt to lure daily passenger service to the airport.
"The response from businesses and individuals from our community has been very strong. We are ahead of pace in our pledges and will continue to work with local businesses to reach our intended goal of $5 million in pledges,'' Dan Dickten, director of aviation, said.
He added the airport has received verbal commitments that will take the pledge count over the intended goal. The purpose of the Travel Bank is to quantify travel demand for the airline.
The airport, the Regional Chamber, YNGAir Partners and the community have been working to reestablish regularly scheduled commercial air service at the regional airport that last operated in 2003, to a hub of a major U.S. airline. Recently the airport received a $780,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to be used as an airline revenue guarantee. The DOT grant along with the Travel Bank pledges are expected to help lure a major airline to the local airport.
Pledges can be made online at www.yng-travelbank.com.