JAMESTOWN – Commercial air service could be returning soon to the Greater Chautauqua-Jamestown Airport in Jamestown.
On Monday Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello’s office sent out a media release updating the public on the status of air service at the airport.
The release said that the county is continuing to work with Boutique Airways to restore commercial air and is awaiting authorization from the federal Essential Air Service (EAS) program.
The area has been without passenger air service since January when Southern Airways Express – the previous airline serving the county – abruptly halted service in Jamestown.
In May, Chautauqua County announced it had partnered with Boutique Air, a commuter airline based in San Francisco and had submitted a joint proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation to reestablish commercial service between Jamestown and Pittsburgh under the EAS program.
In October the DOT extended the EAS program for five years. That meant funding would be available to bring back service to Jamestown if the proposal is approved by the DOT.
In November, Boutique Air was awarded an EAS route contract with Johnstown, Pa. that connects with both Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and Pittsburgh.
“With a newly established operating base at the Pittsburgh airport, Boutique is able to offer greater operating efficiencies in its planned service to Chautauqua County,” said Ron Almeter, Chautauqua County Manager of Airport and Parks. “This presents Chautauqua County and the U.S. Department of Transportation with a more attractive business plan that leverages the economies of operating multiple routes from a common hub.”
Not only is Boutique proposing to bring down the cost of the potential service between Jamestown and Pittsburgh, but the airline continues to improve and expand its portfolio of interline and code share agreements with United Airline and other major carriers. Officials say this will provide travelers connecting on flights beyond Pittsburgh to have an extensive range of travel options available through their network of airline alliances.
“We recognize in Chautauqua County and Western New York State, a community that has a demonstrable growing need for commercial air service,” said Shawn Simpson, CEO of Boutique Air. “The synergy between the County’s economic development trajectory and Boutique’s unique capability to bring high-quality passenger service to emerging markets gives us high confidence that we can be successful in this endeavor.”
“Returning commercial air service to the Jamestown Airport is critical for our county’s residents, visitors, and established multinational companies with visiting clients and management teams,” Borrello said. “We are working with Congressman Tom Reed and his team to further engage with officials of the USDOT’s EAS program. I believe this latest improvement to our joint proposal with Boutique has strengthened our plan and improved our strategy for a successful operation at the Jamestown Airport.”
The revised route proposal is now under review by EAS program officials. Boutique Air and County leaders await the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision on approving Jamestown Airport’s return to the EAS Program.