Kahn’s Curse | News, Sports, Jobs
How did the situation at Williamsport Regional Airport get so bad? It is not because of the terminal that receives the passengers. The terminal is an exceptional example of such buildings. In fact, it is certainly suitable for much busier airports.
I think the problem started in the early 1970s. Alfred E. Kahn, then chairman of the Civil Aviation Council, spent years lobbying for airline deregulation. He gave all the usual reasons for the free market. And, in 1979, he succeeded. So what has changed?
Well, before deregulation the government told airlines, “You have to serve less traveled routes and destinations and use some of the money from your profitable routes to subsidize the cost of less traveled routes. “ In this way, rural areas have access to services that benefit the most populous areas.
In the years following deregulation, airlines shifted their services to their most profitable routes. If a rural area could show that it was profitable to serve, State College for example, the airlines were happy to continue the service. Otherwise, no luck.
Recently, local officials said Harrisburg should do more to support rural airports. I see this as a way of saying that more airline regulations are needed to support our airport. I certainly agree.
Submitted via the virtual press room