The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency Board has approved using $25,000 toward an Airport Market Analysis Study.
IDA CEO and Deputy County Executive of Economic Development Mark Geise said the goal is to do the study as part of hopefully bringing back Essential Air Service to the Jamestown Airport.
The County had proposed in 2021 using $75,000 in American Rescue Plan funds for the feasibility study, but the County Legislature voted it down.
Geise said the IDA’s contribution of $25,000 will lower the cost of the study to the County to $50,000.
Jamestown Airport Manager Shannon Barnhart said the study will look at various data points, “You know, it’s a possibility that air service may not be the best thing for Chautauqua County, but we don’t know. We hope that it is. But without any data showing that people are actually going to fly, we hear every day people want air service back, but, ‘Did you ever fly? You know, are you going to fly? How many times are you going to fly? Where do you spend your money now?’ Someone has to get out there and do that. We do not have the resources within the county, or myself, to go out and do that study on our own.”
Barnhart said the feasibility study is the missing piece in the application to the Department of Transportation. She said it’s the County’s intention to use the study to work with an airline in the application for EAS designation.
County Executive PJ Wendel said there’s also a plan in the event that the study doesn’t go they way they expect, “And Shannon has a plan to shift gears and move towards how do we make this a general aviation airport and how do we start to gain revenue and build that base up again? So, I think this is important, it’s vital, and it’s really going to finally answer the question we’ve been asking and that question hasn’t been answered.”
Geise said he anticipates a resolution will be brought before the County Legislature in February for the remainder of the $50,000 needed to fund the study.
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