Palmer Airport plans could affect Jimmy Stewart Airport Local news

Call it the story of the three airports during the change.

Two of them – Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity, Westmarland, and John Murta County Johnstown-Cambria Airport in Richland Township – have regular commercial flights. Each is on the shortest routes less than 33 miles and just under an hour from downtown Indiana.

One seeks to expand to bring more services. The second is trying to keep the services that are now there.

Among all that is at Indiana / Jimmy Stewart Airport, about a five-mile and 11-minute drive to White Township, which plans Monday night to present a proposed master plan that will drive the next 20 years of development and beyond for Indiana Suburban Airfield.

“On Monday, we’ll take a look at our master plan study, which will show improvements that will include general aviation hangars as well as a corporate hangar,” said Stuart airport manager Rick Fulner.

“This is a master plan for many, many years,” said County Governor Michael Keith at a recent meeting when he announced a public screening to be held at Stewart Airport from 6 to 8 p.m.

“Jimmy Stewart Airport is part of a general purpose aviation facility that also has a niche and provides local access from corporate and / or charter services,” said Byron G. Staufer Jr., executive director of Indiana County Development Corporation and Indiana County Planning and Development Office.

The new Riziki Café will cater to this presentation at the facility’s terminal at 398 Airport Road, White Township.

“The recent appearance of the Riziki Café at Jimmy Stewart Airport has attracted attention and increased not only air travel but also visitors who are just interested in exploring the region,” said Laura Herinton, executive director of the Indiana County Tourism Bureau.

“Cafe Riziki has brought a new consciousness to the airport as well as a place for pilots who like to fly for breakfast or lunch,” Fulner said. “Future improvements outside the fence, such as a planned playground and family area next to the Jimmy Stewart Cessna 310, will also make the airport a destination for our local families as well as for visitors.”

Meanwhile, at a special board meeting on May 4, Johnstown-Cumbria County Airport officials authorized the Planning Committee to notify the U.S. Department of Transportation that SkyWest is canceling a March 9 notice of plans to discontinue Essential Air Service at Murta Airport.

This will overturn the March decision for at least one of the United States ’29 regional airports, which prompted DOT to publish a Request for Proposals for Airlines to provide EAS.

The EAS was established in 1978 to ensure that ongoing deregulation does not affect small communities such as Johnstown. As Johnston Airport noted in March, SkyWest and other regional airlines have experienced various stresses related to staffing, operating costs and extreme fluctuations in customer demand during the period affected by the pandemic and economic events.

And Westmoreland County Airport officials recently voted in favor of allowing $ 23 million to expand Palmer Airport, a decision that has mixed reviews north of the Indiana County line.

“It’s easy to assess the benefits for the entire region, including Indiana County, by learning about plans to expand Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, in terms of an additional TSA security checkpoint, a third gate that could lead to additional carriers, with more potential for more and other amenities such as food outlets, possibly a casino room, additional seating areas, etc., ”Staufer said.

The plan, issued by design team McFarland Johnson, KTH Architects, Mead & Hunt and Pyramid Engineering, aims to include additional gates for additional flights and upgrades that will match airlines ’decisions to expand their carriers from Airbus A320 to larger Airbus A321 .

“The expansion focuses on the growth of the aviation sector, and the added convenience, convenience and lower cost of travel to Arnold Palmer Regional Airport and from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport will help encourage a return to travel, as was the case before recent events,” he said. said. “Simply put, tourism will increase. In my view, expansion and further development will only improve the accessibility and quality of life in Indiana County for our residents and guests of our region. ”

However, Fulner said, the expansion of Palmer Airport “could repel general aviation pilots from commercial airports” such as Stewart Airport.

“These types of local extensions will be reflected in our master plan,” White Township Airport Manager said.

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