New county airport study underway | News, Sports, Jobs
Last fall, Chautauqua County lawmakers made it clear they weren’t interested in paying for another study to bring commercial flights back to Jamestown Airport. But a study is nonetheless underway to determine what is the best use of the county’s two airports.
During the Chautauqua County Planning Board meeting this week, Rebecca Wurster, County Special Projects Coordinator, discussed some of the plans and studies they are working on in 2022. One of them is a plan airport strategy.
“We are in the final stages of the draft plan of this plan. It really provides a high-level strategic direction recommendation for the county’s two airports,” she says.
After the meeting, The Post-Journal/OBSERVER asked Mark Geise, the county’s deputy director for economic development and director of the county’s Industrial Development Agency, about the study.
“The airport strategic plan, which is currently in draft form, will result in a condensed, usable document to help guide the strategic direction of the county’s airports. The purpose of the plan is to help provide a high-level strategic vision for airports by examining county assets, existing opportunities and the resources needed to realize them,” he said in an email. “We hope the plan will help steer the airports in a direction to maximize their value to the county as a whole, with an eye on financial viability.”
Last fall, Geise, along with then Public Works Department Director Brad Bentley and County Airport and Parks Director Ron Almeter, all lobbied for the county legislature spends $72,000 using American Rescue Plan Act funds to hire an outside firm to do a study on airports. At the time, they said the study would help determine if there was any chance of a commercial airline returning to Jamestown. But the legislator voted against the study.
Neither Bentley nor Almeter work for the county now.
Chautauqua County has been without a commercial air carrier since December 2017, when the federal Department of Transportation terminated essential air service eligibility for Jamestown because the local airport did not meet the federal standard of 10 passengers per day nor the federal government subsidy cap of $200 per passenger. .