Bad News on 2017 Passenger Numbers May Actually be Good News at NCWV Airport as Service Booms

By Jeff Toquinto on December 21, 2017 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

On the surface, it would look like things are dipping a little bit for the North Central West Virginia Airport. After all, through November the airport has had 23,103 passengers and Director Rick Rock says that number is actually down just a bit from the same time last year.

However, that bad news in reality may be good news. The current numbers are in place during a year in which the airport went months without a daily air service provider. Now, with United Express in place since November 1 flying under SkyWest, Rock said there’s a chance that the airport could meet or even pass the numbers once December is through.
 
“We’re in our second month of our new service and I’m extremely pleased,” said Rock during the monthly meeting of the Benedum Airport Authority, which is the airport’s governing body. “We’ve had good numbers and no cancellations.”
 
The airport is offering daily flights to both Washington Dulles International Airport and Chicago O’Hare Airport. The Chicago flight, right now, is seeing the most use.
 
“We’d like to see between 26,000 and 27,000 passengers by the end of the year,” said Rock. “That would put us in the same area.”
 
The number could actually be higher. Rock said he did not account for three charter flights that will be used by the West Virginia University football program for the upcoming Heart of Dallas Bowl in Texas. Officials at Wednesday’s meeting said that there will be three charter flights – one for the team, one for alumni and one for the band and cheerleaders.
 
During a presentation to the Authority Wednesday on accomplishments for 2017 and goals for 2018, Rock was more than optimistic about the future numbers.
 
“We’re going to blow (this year’s) numbers out of the water (next year),” said Rock. “ … We’ll pass 30,000 enplanements, which is our goal.”
 
While Rock praised the daily United Express jet service, he said Allegiant continues to be a huge draw with its destination flight to the Orlando-Sanford International Airport. After several years of the flight, it’s still seeing its flights at nearly 85 percent capacity. The goal, Rock said, is to get that at 90 percent next year for the Orlando flight and the shorter term flight during the warm weather months to Myrtle Beach.
 
More from the meeting later on Connect-Bridgeport.
 
Editor's Note: Top photo shows a United Express jet taking off for Chicago Wednesday. In the bottom photo, Airport Authority President Ron Watson, right is shown with Authority member Kris Cinalli asking NCWV Airport Director Rick Rock questions at the December meeting.


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