Port authority approves $5 million budget, looking for new service

VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – As the Western Reserve Port Authority passed a $5 million budget Wednesday, traffic in and out of the regional airport remains a top priority for board members.

Flights to Chicago to were lost in August after a short run with ADI Great Lakes Express, and Allegiant stopped its run to Punta Gorda, Florida.

“It creates somewhat of a sense of urgency. Certainly, we know we need to be able to get those flights back,” said John Moliterno, board member

One notable absence from Wednesday’s meeting was airport director Dan Dickten. He’s in Las Vegas at a convention of airline executives. Moliterno said he is there to talk to other airlines such as Spirit, Frontier, Delta and others about bringing service to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport

Right now there are only twice-a-week flights between Youngstown to the Orlando-Sanford area and Clearwater-Saint Pete on Allegiant Airlines. That means there are days with no regular service at all.

“We’d like to get a Chicago flight back out of our airport. We are also looking to go east – Newark or one of the New York-related airports,” Moliterno said.

Board members canceled their agreement with ADI last summer after only six weeks. Many of the 50-passenger flights were less than half full.

Moliterno admits airport officials will need to be able to sell the airport and the area to convince airlines they’ll make money by coming here. At this point, he says it is far too early to make any promises for success.