MOUNT ALTON — Of the 41 cities Southern Airways Express serves, Bradford Regional Airport ranked the highest in an internal survey of customer satisfaction with a score of 9.8 out of a possible ten.
That was the word Wednesday from Southern Airways Express’ Chief Commercial Officer Mark Cestari in remarks for members of the Bradford Regional Airport Authority. “Congratulations to Ryan Dach and his staff here at Bradford,” Cestari said.
And there was more good news for Southern Airways Express and Bradford Regional Airport. Dach, director of security for the airline now based in Palm Beach, Fla., reported on the March airline traffic at Bradford, which showed 246 enplanements and 230 deplanements for a daily average of 8. 8 passengers, almost twice the February average. Only two of the 109 scheduled flights were cancelled — both weather-related — for a completion factor of 98 percent.
Cestari also reported that Southern Airways Express has been awarded the Essential Air Service contract to begin service from Chadron, Neb., to Denver, Colo., June 21.
So far this year, the airline’s traffic has shown a 300 percent increase as compared to a year ago.
Southern Airways Express, which has served Bradford since 2016, is slated to begin daily flights to Washington’s Dulles International Airport, a destination that proved popular in 2007 and 2008. Tickets to Dulles are now on sale at http://www.iFlySouthern.com or the popular online outlets.
Daily flights to Pittsburgh International Airport will continue. By June 28, Southern Airways Express’ interline agreement with United should be finalized, making for a seamless experience.
Designed for the convenience of the partnership’s customers, these agreements permit passengers to book a seamless travel experience from any Southern Airways Express-served city to United’s destinations, offering single-point check-ins at the local airport for the entire trip and checked baggage that is delivered to the final destination.
Continuing his report, Cestari said the airline plans an accelerated promotional campaign in May and June aimed at local travelers who plan to visit Pittsburgh for such attractions as Pittsburgh Pirates or Kennywood Park.
What is the airline’s outlook for this summer? “It’s amazingly strong!” Cestari exclaimed.
In the treasurer’s report, Airport Manager Alicia Dankesreiter noted that expenditures for de-icing materials are down primarily due to Southern Airways Express; new Cessna Caravan EX aircraft that are equipped with improved de-icing and anti-icing capabilities.
Dankesreiter told authority members that the Federal Aviation Administration conducted its annual inspection Tuesday and found no deficiencies. This comprehensive evaluation, which lasted six hours during day and night, included interviews with airport staff and checked fueling facilities, firefighting and rescue equipment, airport files, runway conditions, lighting and markings and ground vehicle operations.
“In an interesting comment, the FAA official said we actually have had one more runway light than is required,” Dankesreiter noted.
Airport engineer Brian Wolfel of GAI Consultants reported on the progress of four airport projects.
“The final inspection of the rehabilitation of the non-revenue parking lot was held on March 20, and this project was accepted as complete with no outstanding punch list items,” he said.
GAI continues working on the Airport Master Plan update with Mead and Hunt regarding the finalizing of the document. Once this plan, which looks at airport improvements and events over ten years, is finished, it will be forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration for review.
Wolfel said that GAI has submitted the gas regulator change order in the airport terminal project to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Aviation for approval.
It was recently noticed, Wolfel said, that the lower portions of some of the exterior stone columns have incurred damage due to excessive frost heave and what was considered weak bonding of the stone to masonry. The contractor is to be on site today to complete repairs.
GAI is working with the Federal aviation Administration in preparing close out documents for the obstruction removal project, according to Wolfel.