UPDATE: Airports Express Concerns About Local Service

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Update 9/22/2015 5:10 P.M.

West Virginia airports take concerns about local air service to the federal Department of Transportation.

Silver Airways flights to Dulles International Airport, including those from Wood County, have been plagued all year with delays.

In some cases, flights have arrived eight hours behind schedule.

The manager of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport was among those meeting last week with the DOT, which oversees essential air service to smaller airports.

" (The problems include everything from crew delays to weather issues-which we understand, in the summertime, with thunderstorms in Washington-to mechanical issues," says Manager Jeff McDougle. "And they've had a lot more maintenance issues, with the SAAB 340's than with the Beech 1900's, when we flew to Cleveland."

There were no decisions at last week's meeting. But McDougle says airports in Wood County, Morgantown, Clarksburg and Greenbrier Valley might band together for next year's round of bidding on a new air service contract.

West Virginia airports have a two-year contract with Silver to provide essential service.

Update 5/26/2015 2:15 P.M.

Improvements are in the works at the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Airport-just in time for the summer travel season...

Some of the improvements include performance of passenger service.

Since the airport began offering services to Dulles International Airport last October, a large number of flights offered by silver airways have often been either cancelled or delayed.

The airport manager says weather wasn't the only factor.

"In October and November, February and March...it was mechanical and crew issues, weather and traffic delays in Dulles," says Airport Manager Jeff McDougle. "So it was everything. But they appear to have somebody focused on it, and it's a lot better."

One change that's happened recently.: Silver Airways got a new CEO.

Last fall, the company began flights to the Washington, D.C. area, after four years of operating connecting flights to Cleveland.

UPDATE 10/1/2014 5:30 PM

If you're thinking of taking a trip anytime soon, the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport is making some changes.

The airport only had flights going to Cleveland Hopkins Airport, but that destination is now discontinued.

As of Wednesday, the only destination for Parkersburg flights are to the Washington Dulles International Airport.

This change makes it easier for passengers, with 18 weekly flights, double the amount of seats and 300 plus departures.

Silver Airways will also provide a bathroom on board and a flight attendant, neither of which were available in the past.

"Today marked the first flights non-stop to Washington Dulles. We expect more passengers simply because Cleveland was no longer a hub city and Washington Dulles has 300 destinations daily. The most you'll have in line is 33 people. Other airports have a lot longer security lines and a lot longer drive," says Jeff McDougle, airport manager.

Silver Airways signed a two-year contract with Washington Dulles.

UPDATE 7/21/2014 4:45 PM

Silver Airways will once again provide passenger service from the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport to Dulles International Airport.

The board of directors for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport made the proposal.

Airport manager Jeff McDougle says the U.S. Department of Transportation approved it Friday.

That was the passenger destination from 2008 to 2010.

The board wanted it because more flights are available.

Silver announced earlier this year it is discontinuing its flights to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

That's been the destination for Parkersburg flights for the past few years.

The change goes into effect October 1.

UPDATE 6/19/2014 11:50 AM

For the area's frequent fliers, it's a familiar route.

And it could be where passenger service is headed once again.

The board of directors for the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport recommended a Silver Airways proposal to provide passenger service to Dulles International Airport.

You may remember, that was the passenger destination from 2008 to 2010.

The board's main reason is more flights are available.

"The only other airport offered to us was Pittsburgh, which only has 38 total destinations," says airport manager Jeff McDougle. "It's not like it was in the late 1990's when it was a hub for U.S. Airways. There's more destinations available to us out of Washington-Dulles."

That, however, is not the final word on the matter.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has to make the final determination, from several proposals made by various airlines in the past month.

A public comment period set up by the DOT ends Thursday, and airport manager Jeff McDougle says a final decision should be made in the next couple of weeks.

Silver announced earlier this year it is discontinuing its flights to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

That's been the destination for Parkersburg flights for the past few years.

Update: 5/30/2014 4:30 P.M.

Four regional carriers, including the one now serving the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, have put in bids with the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide service for the next three years.

None of those, however, propose to continue the current route from Wood County to Cleveland Hopkins Airport.

Silver Airways, the current carrier, proposes to fly to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C.

And several of those flights include stops at either Clarksburg or Morgantown.

Silver announced in February it is ending its flights to Cleveland for economic reasons.

Two others, City Link Air and Sun Air, both based in Florida, plan flights from Wood County to Pittsburgh...long a route of past carriers.

A third, Boutique Air of San Francisco, plans flights to Pittsburgh and D.D.-Dulles.

Proposals are ammended bids which were submitted this week to the DOT

A final decision will be made after a comment period on the bids, which is in effect until June 19th.


UPDATE 2/14/2014 5:00 PM

In 3 months, passenger service from the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport will be discontinued.

A 90 day notice is being issued from Silver Airways that it's ending flights to Cleveland.

Service is scheduled to end May 15, but airport management says they're hopeful commercial flights will continue past that deadline

Silver has flown from Wood County to Cleveland since 2009.

The company says United Airlines ending its hub in Cleveland is one factor making it economically impossible to continue flying.

That's scheduled to happen in June, so according to MOV Airport management, it makes sense Silver would give their 90 day notice now.

However, they're hoping the airline re-bids to continue flights before May 15.

"Will Silver bid again? I'm hoping they will because of our 8,000 passengers we had last year," says airport manager Jeff McDougle. "It's the highest passenger load we had in over 7 years. So I think we can make a case that we are a strong airport. And I think Silver themselves realize that too."

McDougle also tells me he's confident Silver will continue services past May 15th.

He says a recent spike in passengers flying to Cleveland could influence Silver to stay in the Mid-Ohio Valley after all.

Whether Silver or another prospective carrier will fly to Cleveland is another story.

Commissioner Wayne Dunn of the airport board says Washington-Dulles could be the airport's new destination.

More optimism for the airport.

Management says it's nearly guaranteed, even without a commercial carrier, the airport will continue operations, serving private flights, and even the military.

UPDATE 2/14/2014 12:10 PM

In three months, passenger service from the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport will be discontinued.

Silver Airways issued a 90-day notice it is ending its flights to Cleveland from several cities, including Parkersburg.

The service is to end May 15th.

Silver has flown as United Express from Wood County to Cleveland since 2009.

A company spokeswoman cites factors making it economically impossible to continue flying from Wood County, along with markets in New York state and Pennsylvania.

The news comes weeks after United Airlines announced it was ending its hub in Cleveland, where connections were made from the local area.

"Business as usual" at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport - at least for the moment.

Big worries hover overhead, however, following United's announcement to pull out of Cleveland.

United Airlines will be making major cutbacks at Hopkins International and will stop using the Cleveland airport as a "hub".

That means most of the United flights coming through Hopkins will be eliminated.

Meanwhile at home, management says Silver Airlines flights at MOV Regional will not be affected - at least not until the United cuts in Cleveland happen.

"The United pull down of Cleveland, is going to happen by June," says airport manager Jeff McDougle. "At this point, we don't know what the impact will be for the traveling public for the Mid-Ohio Valley."

McDougle says most local passengers travel beyond Cleveland.

Come June, the fear is that a lack of connecting flights out of Cleveland will hurt business at our regional airport because passengers may have fewer choices in destinations.

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