CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Business leaders in all sectors throughout Charleston including government, tourism, technology, chemicals, banking, law, and education have teamed up with the Charleston Area Alliance and West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) to form an Air Service Working Group.
The first of its kind in around 50 years, CRW Airport Director and CEO Nick Keller told MetroNews, it has already met once since its launch and has had progress in discussions. The working group was created to come up with a strategic plan and goals to retain and attract additional airline services to CRW through minimum revenue guarantees and incentives.
Airports across the nation compete for air service development, and airlines consider many factors when investing in markets, a release said. One of those factors is community support.
“It’s one thing for the airport to go to the airlines and say ‘we need a new route,’ but it’s another to get a working group like this, with business, hospitality and government sectors, all on the same page, supporting the same goals,” Keller said of the community support.
Keller said a survey on air service sent out by the Charleston Area Alliance (CAA) received over 700 respondents and the top wants in the Charleston market were flights to New York City, Dallas and Houston. He said the results were given to an air service consultant who then made a presentation at the group’s first meeting.
He added the group will then target markets, attempt to retain service and increase service for certain markets.
“To have a group unified behind air service that is not the airport is an advantage for us,” Keller said.
President and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance (CAA), Nicole Christian told MetroNews she was approached by Keller about the possibility of the group with the minimum revenue guarantees and incentives. Those incentives are like an insurance policy for airlines as CRW could be viewed as a risk.
Christian said the airport is an asset to the community and anything that goes on there impacts all of the area.
“We look forward to continuing to work together. All the great stuff that will happen at the airport means good stuff happening for our whole community,” she said.
Members of the working group include:
Michael J Basile, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC
Tim Brady, Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Fonda Elliot, Commercial Holdings
Georgette George, Monarch/Ridgeline Properties
Steven Hedrick, MATRIC Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center
Shannon Huber, Dow, Inc.
Mike McCown, Industrial Bolting Technologies, Inc.
Chris Morris, Citynet
Marcus Phillips, Kureha PGA, LLC
Jack Rossi, Summit Community Bank
Jeff Sandene, Charleston Area Medical Center
Lance Wheeler, Kanawha County Commission
Aaron Sporck, Huntington National Bank
Moore Capito, Babst Calland Clements & Zomnir, P.C.
Jeri Adkins, Charleston Area Alliance
Nicole Christian, Charleston Area Alliance
Nick Keller, West Virginia International Yeager Airport
Dominique Ranieri, West Virginia International Yeager Airport
Charles Dusic, West Virginia Regional Technology Park Corp.
Matthew Sutton, City of Charleston