CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The parking lot is empty, the flight boards are bare, just as Yeager Airport started to gain some real momentum this year the airport now looks like a ghost town.
“So March 15th, 16th is when we started to notice a dip in travel so since that point to where we are right now we had about a 95 percent drop in passengers coming to the airport, ” says Yeager Airport’s public affairs manager, Chris Williams.
Just a month prior, Spirit airlines launched a direct flight from Charleston to Orlando, Florida, quickly took off.
“In just that one-month month-in-a-half span spirit told us they were making money on the flight and we were really excited about that but now we have had to put some things on pause,” Williams adds.
Spirit has temporarily suspended the Orlando and ever-popular Myrtle Beach flights. The desk now sits dormant, but Yeager Airport is an essential service provider to the community, providing air transportation services for essential passengers, air cargo and mail, medical, law enforcement, and the United States Military which is why U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin worked so hard on Capitol Hill for CARES Act dollars for West Virginia airports.
In a statement, Senator Manchin said, “this funding will allow west Virginia’s airports to maintain operations and payroll, continue paying down debts, complete existing projects, and move forward with new developments”
Capito also commented on the more than 9-million dollars state airports were granted saying “Investing in our regional airports not only keeps our passengers and personnel safe, but it also fuels growth and boosts our economy.”
Individual awards listed below:
- $69,000 – Raleigh County Memorial Airport
- $69,000 – Mercer County Airport
- $20,000 – Upshur County Regional Airport
- $4,810,956 – Yeager Airport
- $1,151,897 – North Central West Virginia Airport
- $30,000 – Elkins-Randolph County Airport/Jennings Randolph Field
- $30,000 – Fairmont Municipal Airport/Frankman Field
- $1,727,300 – Tri-State Airport/Milton J Ferguson Field
- $1,042,623 – Greenbrier Valley Airport
- $30,000 – Logan County Airport
- $30,000 – Eastern WV Regional Airport/Shepherd Field
- $69,000 – Morgantown Municipal Airport/Walter L Bill Hart Field
- $30,000 – Marshall County Airport
- $69,000 – Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport
- $20,000 – Grant County Airport
- $20,000 – Philippi/Barbour County Regional Airport
- $1,000 – Kee Field
- $30,000 – Mason County Airport
- $20,000 – Jackson County Airport
- $20,000 – Summersville Airport
- $20,000 – Braxton County Airport
- $69,000 – Wheeling/Ohio County Airport
- $20,000 – Appalachian Regional Airport
Congresswoman Carol Miller comments in a statement, “Our airports play a critical role in ensuring goods and services arrive at their destination on time, especially during a crisis,” said Congresswoman Miller. “I am so happy to see this significant funding come home to provide West Virginia with the resources needed to combat this virus quickly and effectively.”
The Yeager Airport Spirit Airlines flight to Myrtle Beach is set to start in June.