JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – If the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority supports contract changes requested by SkyWest Airlines, the carrier will rescind its notice of termination of service, airport manager Cory Cree said Friday.
SkyWest’s proposed changes were discussed in a private executive session of the authority’s enplanement committee, which includes Cree, committee chairman Michael Parrish, authority chairman Rick McQuaide, Jim Loncella and David Kalina.
The enplanement committee is requesting more information from SkyWest in advance of making a decision, Cree said.
“We are pleased with the service SkyWest has provided over the term they’ve been here,” he said. “We want to be supportive and would like to see its service here continue at the airport, but we want to more fully understand the proposed changes in service before we provide support for those changes.”
Through subsidies of the federal Essential Air Service Program, SkyWest Airlines has been operating flights for small airports in communities that would be unprofitable to serve without the subsidies, including the John Murtha Johnstown–Cambria County Airport in Richland Township.
SkyWest began serving the local airport in 2020, and since then, Johnstown has become one of SkyWest’s fastest-growing markets, Cree said.
But in March, SkyWest abruptly announced plans to cease service to all 29 of its federally subsidized EAS cities, blaming a COVID-19-spurred pilot shortage.
The carrier has continued serving the Johnstown region while the authority searches for new carriers to offer flights.
The authority set a May 11 deadline for carriers’ bids to be received. Last week, Cree said he received notification from SkyWest that it was planning to submit “creative ways to continue to be able to provide services to EAS communities” before that deadline.
The committee has scheduled a meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the conference room of the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, 479 Airport Road, to further discuss details of SkyWest’s proposal.
Cree said the authority would then meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday to vote.
“If we support changes to Skywest’s EAS contract, they will withdraw their notice of termination and continue to provide service through their contract, which continues through December 2023,” Cree said.
Russ O’Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.