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Bridgeport airport hits 10,000 threshold way early

Exponent Telegram file photo Shawn Long, right, and Mark Heefner work at the Allegiant counter at the North Central West Virginia Airport in this photo from March.
Exponent Telegram file photo
Shawn Long, right, and Mark Heefner work at the Allegiant counter at the North Central West Virginia Airport in this photo from March.

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — In just five months, the North Central West Virginia Airport has topped 10,000 enplanements for the year, securing the facility $1 million in Airport Improvement Funds.

For the past several years, it was often December before the airport hit that number, according to Benedum Airport Authority President Ron Watson.

“We were down to sweating bullets and keeping our fingers crossed that we could beg, borrow or steal our way to that number,” Watson said. “Some of those years it was just a little over 10,000.”

Allegiant Airlines’ flights to Florida, United’s Silver Airways flights to Washington, D.C., and WVU Big 12 charter flights all contributed to the benchmark.

“It’s been a combination of all the three, but if you want to know where most of the enplanements have come from, it’s been Allegiant, absolutely,” Watson said.

Allegiant Airlines, which started flying out of the airport in November, made up more than 60 percent of the total.

Last year, those flights helped boost the airport to more than 11,000 enplanements, but the airport didn’t hit that number until December.

And from 2003 to 2007, the airport didn’t even hit 10,000 enplanements at all.

Now Airport Director Rick Rock is making 20,000 his goal for 2014.

“I’ve been smiling all day,” Rock said…

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