MARTINSBURG - Representatives for the Blair and Cambria County airport authorities have received some answers to a series of questions they filed with a federal agency considering a proposal for future daily passenger flight service.
In a recent telephone conference call, Altoona-Blair County Airport Manager Charles Pillar said he learned that Silver Airways plans to station a spare aircraft at the Washington-Dulles International Airport, not in Blair or Cambria counties.
But Silver also keeps spare aircraft in DuBois where it has a maintenance hangar, Pillar said.
The location of spare aircraft was among a series of questions submitted on behalf of the airport authorities after Silver, headquartered in Florida, filed to become the Essential Air Service carrier for the airports.
The question surfaced because the current carrier, Colgan Air, sometimes canceled flights due to mechanical problems and stranded passengers for lack of a spare airplane.
The list of questions also asked the Federal Aviation Administration to consider Silver's plans for dealing with inclement weather. That came up because Colgan pilots flying from Washington-Dulles sometimes returned to that airport when weather kept them from landing in John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.
"This airport should be designated as the alternate destination ... for the flights out of Dulles that stop in Johnstown," Pillar said at Monday night's authority meeting.
The FAA, which will name the Essential Air Service carrier for the airports and set a subsidy rate, has not indicated when its decision will be rendered.
Its last order directed Colgan Air, now owned by Pinnacle Airlines, to continue providing daily flight at the Blair and Cambria airports through July 8, unless a replacement carrier is ready to take over before then.
Pinnacle Airlines recently filed for bankruptcy protection while reorganizing its business. It owes $22,000 to the Altoona-Blair County Airport, Pillar said.