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Bridgeport airport seeks city money to draw carrier

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Rural communities have to pay to land a quality airline service, the head of the North Central West Virginia Airport told Bridgeport City Council Monday night.

Airport Director Rick Rock asked city council to contribute to an incentive package aimed at attracting a large air carrier that flies to a major hub such as Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Right now, recruiting a network air service for a small city is usually a pay-to-play scenario,” Rock said during the regular council meeting at Bridgeport City Hall.

Silver Airways is the current Essential Air Service carrier, providing daily flights to Washington’s Dulles Airport, and that contract expires Sept. 30.

The traffic to Dulles has been shrinking since 2011, and the annual Essential Air Service subsidy is exceeding $200 per passenger, Rock noted.

That could result in the airport being dropped from the Essential Air Service program, something officials eventually want to do on their own terms, Rock said.

“Our goal as an airport is to eventually graduate from the Essential Air Service program…

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