Late last Summer, Valley congressman Tim Ryan helped secure more than $1 million in federal money to pour into the runway at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport. That runway is one of YNG's big selling points for cargo, private and military traffic.
"But the real key is being able to get commercial traffic back," says Western Reserve Port Authority CEO John Moliterno. And he believes that will happen sooner than later, despite competing with Akron-Canton and nearby larger airports. He sees the ability to bring traffic to cities that CAK and the other airports don't serve.
"We are also talking to a number of other airlines about service out of this area, both to the Chicagos and the Newarks and the Dulleses in Washington, D.C., but also the Florida flights," Moliterno said Friday.
But some airline experts are tempering the optimism, saying it's a tough time for tertiary airports, or ones that are inaccessible by conventional commercial flights.
"The key will be how fast the business travel sector recovers and how the local business community responds in the Youngstown area, that'll be the key driver," says former airline executive and industry expert Bob Mann.
But Moliterno believes a new and critical ally will turn the tide.
"Ohio has not always been as accommodating in terms of financial support to its airports as other states have been," said Moliterno. "But now that has changed. Our hope is that we're able to put together an agreement with an airline and be able to make an announcement sometime this Fall about plans for 2022."