MOUNT ALTON — Southern Air Express, the low-fare regional airline providing daily non-stop flights to Pittsburgh, in August has recorded the second best numbers at the Bradford Regional Airport in the last five years, according to figures released Wednesday at the airport authority meeting.

Ryan Dach, SAEs Bradford station manager and its director of stations, reported that there were 429 outbound passengers, while the number of incoming stood at 442 for a daily average of 16.13 passengers. Ninety-nine percent of the scheduled flights operated; the one cancellation was due to a thunderstorm.

Airline data released to authority members and the media showed that Bradford remains the most popular ZIP code for outbound passengers, followed by Kane and Smethport. Pittsburgh again is the airline's most popular destination, with Dallas-Ft. Worth and Orlando ranking second and third respectively, for those passengers booking connecting flights.

Yet, again, American Airlines is the airline preferred by those Bradford passengers making connecting flights. Southwest is second.

SAE has negotiated a ticketing and baggage agreement with American Airlines and European carrier Condor Airlines. Interline tickets to and from all SAE-served cities in Pennsylvania are now available. This means that local passengers can book a seamless travel experience from Bradford to any of American's destinations across the globe and to Condor's hub in Frankfort, Germany.

These connections include single-point check-in at the local airport for the entire trip and checked baggage that is delivered to its final destination.

Alicia Dankesreiter said that the U.S. Department of Transportation should soon answer the airport's request that SAE continue to provide passenger service under the Essential Air Service Program that pays federal subsidies to those airlines that serve rural and otherwise unprofitable and marginally profitable markets. The current agreement expires this fall. EAS orders are usually issued for two years.

Following a brief executive session of about 15 minutes to discuss contract negotiations, the members returned to the public session and voted unanimously to authorize Airport Manager Alicia Dankesreiter to negotiate a lease agreement with a possible tenant that is interested in the 6,000 square-foot unit in the airport's multi-tenant center. "We're not at liberty to discuss that party's name," said authority Vice-Chairman Ron Dankesreiter of Cameron County, who conducted the meeting in the absence of Chairman Cliff Lane.

This unit and one measuring 14,000 square-foot are currently vacant. Rob Huber, one of the authority's McKean County members, said, "The 14,000 square-foot unit can be subdivided."

In the engineering consultant's report, Brian Wolfel of GAI Consultants said that his firm has teamed with Mead and Hunt, an engineering firm with expertise in aviation projects, in developing the Airport Master Plan, a study required by the Federal Aviation Administration, that helps determine airports' long-range development. "We have completed the Inventory and Forecast sections, two of the plan's components. They are due at the FAA by September 28," Wolfel said.

Wolfel also noted that the final inspection 14-32 Runway rehab project that included crack sealing and markings is finished and final payment should be made soon.

For the obstruction removal project at the one end of the same runway, airport officials are awaiting the FAA to make a grant offer before this work can begin.