The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 21, 2013

Airline behind on rent

Issue concerns airport officials

JOHNSTOWN — Silver Airline is three months behind on its rent.

That’s more than $17,000 and the airport authority sees it as a sign of big problems.

“This is very bad writing on the wall,” Solicitor Timothy Leventry said at this month’s Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority meeting.

“It is more than a the-check-is-in-the-mail thing,” he said, noting that several other airlines recently declared bankruptcy.

Even while they continue working with Silver’s leaders, airport officials have joined a feasibility study to form a network of smaller airports with multiple daily Pittsburgh connector flights.

Silver receives up to $3,997,187 a year in federal Essential Air Service subsidies to operate 18 flights a week between Johnstown-Altoona and Dulles International Airport near Washington.

It includes three flights each weekday, one on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Essential Air Service was instituted to maintain commercial air service in smaller airports. Member airports must maintain a minimum of 10 enplanements per day. Despite declining ridership, Johnstown and Altoona meet that minimum, and Silver has indicated it will apply to renew its contract in June.

Other Pennsylvania airports are not so lucky. Bradford and Venango regional airports may lose the funding. Both are exploring the PIT Connector Project, which uses the PIT federal navigation symbol for Pittsburgh International Airport.

Like Johnstown’s leaders, Bradford’s airport authority has expressed dissatisfaction with Silver’s efforts to build ridership. In September, the Bradford authority asked the federal government to terminate Silver’s Essential Air Service contract, while asking for a one-year waiver from the minimum ridership requirement so another airline would have a chance to reclaim the lost business.

The PIT Connector Project is funded by the Pittsburgh airport to help ridership there, Johnstown authority Chairman Richard Weaver said.

“It’s still in the talking stages,” Weaver said.

The idea is to show an airline there is enough interest to support the flights, he explained. That airline could apply for contracts to receive the federal money from at least some of the participating airports.

One proposal calls for six flights a day between Johnstown and Pittsburgh with a nine-passenger commuter plane. Altoona would have a separate plane and its own six-flight schedule, Weaver said.

Declining ridership, blamed in part on reliability issues with Silver, could impact the airport’s budget, accountant Dennis Kotzan warned while reviewing the 2014 budget, which projects revenues of  $726,137 and expenses of $621,681 for airport operations.

Although authority members and Cambria County commissioners suggested using the $104,456 difference to pay down some debt early in the year, Kotzan warned that the cushion may not be as thick as it looks.

“There is a concern about hangar rental and other income,” Kotzan said. “The $104,000 may not even be there. That’s a concern. Without the airline, that could be a problem.”

Randy Griffith is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • smothers ‘It breaks my heart’: Shooting victim’s death leaves trail of shattered lives

    Victoria Smothers knows what people thought when they heard that a young black male had been shot to death in Moxham last week.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • School violence studied

    On a typical day last year, Pennsylvania schools caught 11 students toting weapons similar to ones used to slash 21 students and a security guard at a Pittsburgh-area high school, according to the state Department of Education. An untold number of others likely brought weapons to school but weren’t caught, safety experts say.

    April 16, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 17, 2014

  • egg hunt17 ACRP quietly notes 25th anniversary

    There will be little or no fanfare accompanying Alternative Community Resource Program’s 25th anniversary.
    And that’s how the executive director, Frank Janakovic, wants it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • windber17 Windber students earn top ‘Overchiever’ rank

    Windber Area school’s PSSA scores have been tops in the region for the past several years.
    This year, they’re among the head of the class statewide, Pittsburgh Business Times annual Schools Guide shows.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wise, Charles Police charge bank robbery suspect

    A Johnstown man was jailed on $250,000 bond after police said he robbed the West End Branch of AmeriServ Financial. Charles Wise, 48, of Barron Avenue, was charged with two counts of robbery.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Inmate awaits sentencing for assault on guard

    A former inmate faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced for assaulting a corrections officer at State Correctional Institution-Somerset, authorities said.

    April 16, 2014

  • windber pool Pool stays afloat despite troubles

    When a valve broke at the Windber Recreation Park pool last month, its municipal authority caretakers feared that meant the end for the pool’s aged, much-patched liner.
    But the old liner has held up – a stroke of luck that will save Windber Municipal Authority from having to seek a line of credit to cover repairs or risk delaying the pool opening, the authority’s recreation director, C.W. Beckley, said.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creativity blossoming for spring art show

    The 16th annual Art in Bloom spring art show will brighten the Cambria County Courthouse in Ebensburg from noon to 6 p.m. April 26 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27.

    April 16, 2014

  • Alcatraz Challenge offers escape from routine

    Greater Johnstown Community YMCA is gearing up for its indoor biathlon, the Alcatraz Challenge.

    April 16, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads