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For Immediate Release:

Hagerstown Regional Airport passenger service enters hiatus September 30, 2007


Susan Sullam

Remaining airport businesses and airfield to operate normally

(September 27, 2007 ? Hagerstown, MD) Hagerstown Regional Airport management is anticipating that Air Midwest will discontinue daily passenger service at Hagerstown Regional Airport on Sunday, September 30, 2007. Air Midwest is a wholly owned subsidiary of Phoenix-based MESA Air Group, Inc. Air Midwest has operated at Hagerstown as its sole carrier since July of 2004 under the U.S. Airways Express brand. Hagerstown Regional Airport is also home to over 40 other thriving businesses and industries, which employ hundreds of people. Therefore, the Passenger Terminal, which houses Avis, Budget and Hertz rental cars, is operating normally, other airport companies are prospering and the airfield is open 24-hours per day, 7-days per week.

This unfortunate development will be resolved as quickly as possible. Further, it is anticipated that Hagerstown?s replacement carrier will provide new options for passengers that could include airline brand, plane type, connecting hub, improved schedule and reliability as well as other attributes.

The passenger service hiatus is occurring for two reasons:

  • Air Midwest recently petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to abandon more than a dozen markets around the country stating it "?has decided to re-concentrate its assets and expertise to other hubs of operation?" The airline operates a fleet consisting exclusively of Beechcraft 1900D airplanes. According to MESA?s CEO, Jonathan Ornstein those aircraft continue to generate significant losses. A company spokesman hinted at "?the increased cost in operating expenses, especially for fuel?" being the basis of the company?s decision.
  • Airport Director Carolyn Motz stated Wednesday that along with Hagerstown, other airports in Lancaster, PA and Brookings, SD, will also lose Essential Air Service (EAS) on September 30, 2007 because of an eligibility technicality. "Our federal legislators are working diligently to provide language in the FAA?s reauthorization and any short-term action to extend Hagerstown?s eligibility. Once the FAA?s new budget is approved (reauthorization) it is expected that these communities will again be eligible for EAS funding."

EAS is a U.S. Department of Transportation program that was enacted in 1978 in response to the Airline Deregulation Act. The program guaranteed that small communities in the U.S., which, prior to deregulation, were served by certificated airlines, maintained passenger service. Its aim is to maintain a minimal level of passenger service to these communities.

Significant improvements to the infrastructure of the airfield are nearing completion. Once finished they will provide a safer, fully compliant airport environment for current businesses and users as well as future commercial operators.

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