September 18, 2007

Cambria County Airport

Lesson we could learn from the Tribune Democrat in Johnstown, PA:

In an unexpected and swift move, the Cambria County Airport Authority last week terminated the employees of the Johnstown facility and contracted with MTT Aviation Services to manage the day-to-day operations of the airport. MTT is a private company owned by MountainTop Technologies of Johnstown.

We repeatedly have pushed government agencies toward privatization, and while the airport authority did not sell the airport (we hope that comes later), they did the next best thing by turning its management over to a private company.The former airport manager and his staff are all great people, and we hope they are considered by MTT Aviation, or another employer, for their skills. But we believe that a private company, looking to serve customers in the brutal marketplace in which airports compete, will serve the region better than county employees.

Authority chairman Raymond Porsch said he expects the move will save $50,000 to $70,000 per year, a significant amount considering the tenuous state of the county’s finances. But a move such as this should do more than just save money. We have been critical of the airport authority and airport management because of the lack of adequate commercial passenger service in and out of Johnstown.

We urge the new managers at the airport to vigorously pursue new and better service options for our region. The airport authority should hold MTT’s feet to the fire in terms of luring new carriers. If demands to improve service weren’t included in the deal, and if service doesn’t improve, then this move was ill-conceived.We know the challenges in the industry, and we don’t expect overnight miracles. But we certainly hope, and expect, that the good folks at MTT can show the county, and the populace, that they are going to make our airport more useful.We wish them well.

We’ll be watching.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MTT Services is a fixed based operator that provides fuel and aircraft services located at the airport. Doubt they would be interested in Worcester.

Maybe Worcester's fixed based operator could be convinced do do the same