By DAN GUZEWICH Staff writer
A consultant’s study of whether there’s a market for passenger air service in the county is heading toward a landing.
Some preliminary material has been submitted to the county by Kentucky-based R.A. Wiedemann & Associates to the county while additional information is being compiled and evaluated. County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced in early January that the firm had been hired to assess the feasibility of launching scheduled passenger service at the Airport — something the county hasn’t had since 2002.
Randal A. Wiedemann, president of the consulting firm, said Friday he expects the final report will be in the hands of the county early next month. The cost is about $19,000.
Picente said in his State of the County address last month there had been preliminary discussions with Allegiant Air regarding the possibility of establishing service at Griffiss International Airport, possibly later this year. The small discount airline is known for connecting secondary markets, often with underserved airports, with leisure destinations, such as Florida, South Carolina and Arizona. It often flies routes a couple times a week.
Wiedemann’s evaluation of the market potential could help guide Allegiant’s decision, or some other airline, on whether to add Griffiss to its network.
The general aviation Griffiss airfield currently has no scheduled air service or passenger terminal. There’s an occasional scheduled passenger charter to Atlantic City, but that’s about all.
Wiedemann said two ways to analyze a market’s potential for air service are: compiling origins and destinations of business and leisure travelers at airports like Syracuse and Albany; and comparing air service in similar cities.
Wiedemann did say there seems to be no immediate feasibility for establishing scheduled service between Griffiss and Dayton, Ohio. It has been suggested by some that there might be interest in flights between Griffiss and Dayton to provide a direct route for local Department of Defense agencies and contractors to and from the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base area. Such a route also would offer the general public the option of using Dayton as an alternative connecting hub airport.
Wright-Patterson is the headquarters for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Griffiss.
There have been no scheduled commercial flights in the county since 2002 when they were grounded at the former county airport in Whitestown because of a lack of passengers and a federal subsidy that was too costly for Uncle Sam to continue paying.