A Commonwealth Court panel dealt another blow Thursday to a proposed international cargo airport in the Hazleton area, as it upheld Schuylkill County Court’s rejection of a special exception for the facility.
In a 19-page opinion, the panel affirmed county Judge James P. Goodman’s determination that Gladstone Partners LLC, Pittsburgh, had not satisfied the necessary conditions for a special exception.
“The application as submitted did not meet the objective requirements of … (the county zoning ordinance),” President Judge Dan Pellegrini wrote in the panel’s opinion.
As a result, barring a successful appeal by Gladstone Partners to the full Commonwealth Court or the state Supreme Court, plans for the airport have ground to a halt.
Philadelphia International Airport is the 18th busiest U.S. airport in passenger traffic, with 30.5 million air travelers last year.
The nation’s busiest passenger airport, Atlanta, handled 94.4 million fliers, while 66.8 million traversed Chicago O’Hare, according to Airports Council International.
Among airports with the fastest passenger growth, Philadelphia was No. 25 among the top 50. Passenger traffic here was up 1 percent.
How does the nation’s sixth-largest metro area by population come in No. 18 in passengers?
JetBlue, Boston’s largest airline with 125 daily flights, has succeeded where three other carriers did not: making a profit and winning over travelers with cheaper fares and in-flight amenities on a 300-mile trip on which US Airways long had a lock.
US Airways, with a hub in Philadelphia, has 19 nonstop flights on peak weekdays from Philadelphia to Boston.
JetBlue’s arrival in May with five daily Boston nonstops immediately lowered airfares, once as high as $800 round-trip on US Airways, to $55 to $154 one-way on Jet Blue, depending on the day and time of travel.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald describes Pittsburgh International Airport as an economic engine for Western Pennsylvania.
Yet while Fitzgerald points to improved employment, production and tourism as signs of the region’s economic vitality, growth at Pittsburgh International is stalled.
“I can’t explain it,” Fitzgerald said of the incongruity between the region’s surging economy and an airport that is scuffling in its core business of flying.
The airport was on pace through November to post its lowest annual passenger total since opening in 1992, according to the latest data. It recently learned that 600 airline jobs will vanish when the new American Airlines, created through a merger with US Airways, closes a flight operations center in Moon by next year. An unused section of one concourse in the $1 billion airport remains walled-off. The airport doesn’t have a CEO.
POTTSTOWN, PA — With planes taking off every few minutes, excited children couldn’t stop pointing and calling to their parents as they stood on the tarmac at Pottstown Municipal Airport’s Community Day.
“They’re both plane fanatics,” said Rob Moyzan of his children, who traveled from Jim Thorpe for the annual event.
Moyzan’s son and daughter stood near the gates separating spectators from the runway where varied models of propeller planes taxied by.
Further up the runway, Chris Moyer’s grandson, Hayden, swiveled his head from his position atop his grandfather’s shoulder. He patted his grandfather’s arm every time a plane came roaring by on take-off, shouting, “Look!”
NEW YORK — The front landing gear of a flight arriving at New York’s LaGuardia Airport collapsed Monday right after the plane touched down on the runway, officials said, sending the aircraft skidding before it came to a halt.
Ten passengers were treated at the scene, with six being taken to a hospital with minor injuries, said Thomas Bosco, Acting Director of Aviation for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the area airports. The six crew members were taken to another hospital for observation.
Bosco said the nose gear of the plane collapsed when it landed at 5:40 p.m., and “the aircraft skidded down the runway on its nose and then veered off and came to rest in the grass area.”
Reading Regional Airport has two firms looking at potential hangar sites on the airfield – the newest of them to house corporate jets and the other a huge firm still interested in bringing hundreds of jobs to refurbish airliners.
Both have been looking at the site of the historic Hangar 501, built in World War II and razed in 2008, but also at other sites on the airfield.
And both would benefit from the state’s move last week to eliminate the sales tax on repair and maintenance of fixed-wing aircraft.
Airport manager Terry P. Sroka said that could bring many new jobs to the state.
MONTOURSVILLE — Claims of proof that the cause of the TWA Flight 800 crash in 1996 was an external detonation comes as a surprised to a mother of one of the 21 people from Montoursville, Pa., who died aboard the plane.
Irenay Weaver, whose daughter Monica was one of the 16 Montoursville High School students killed, said she was feeling disbelief upon learning Wednesday that former investigators of the crash are making that claim in a documentary that’s slated to be released next month.
Weaver questioned why people will not let it go.
“We’ve let it go,” she said of the victims’ families. “I don’t think we will ever know (the cause.).”
POTTSTOWN — The borough is looking at forming a new transit authority that would oversee the PART bus system, the Pottstown Municipal Airport and possibly even parking in town.
Assistant Borough Manager Erica Weekley told borough council on June 5 that the suggestion came from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as part of its five-year performance review of the Pottstown Area Rapid Transit bus system, better known as PART.
According to PennDOT, it’s unusual for a system as large as PART to be in a town as small as Pottstown and for it to be run by the local government instead of an authority specifically dedicated to its management, Weekley said.
“I can’t think of any other municipality with as many assets to oversee as this council does,” said Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Flight delays of up to 3-1/2 hours are expected to occur at some U.S. airports this summer because of furloughs of air-traffic controllers, the top U.S. aviation regulator said on Thursday.
The estimate from the Federal Aviation Administration puts in sharper focus the potential impact of the agency’s decision to furlough 10 percent of its staff starting Sunday as it struggles to meet budget cuts required under so-called sequestration.
The natural-gas drilling boom in the Marcellus Shale could be the key to ending a 6-year hiatus in air service between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and the second-largest city in Pennsylvania.
A study examining the feasibility of providing commercial air service between Pittsburgh International Airport and 13 intrastate regional airports is halfway complete, said Jeffrey Hartz, a senior consultant at Mead & Hunt, the group hired to complete the report.
Funded in part by the Allegheny County Airport Authority, the study is designed to develop business plans – including possible costs and flight schedules – and market analyses for airport boards to present to interested airlines.
The study will assess the demand for adding connecting flights on a market-by-market basis and provide information, including how full an aircraft must be on a daily basis in order for an airline to profit.
Cash-poor and in need of some good news, Lehigh Valley International Airport operators are turning to a new strategy to appeal to passengers: their stomachs.
OK, a really good hoagie or a perfectly mixed latte isn’t going to make anyone buy a plane ticket, but airport officials are hoping to attract at least some people who aren’t scheduled for a flight.
LVIA has hired a San Diego company to take over three restaurants and a newsstand in hopes of upgrading the offerings and increasing the airport’s take. First Class Concessions has a deal to renovate and run the airport’s retail space for the next decade.
“This will enhance the concessions and we think that will drive up usage,” said airport Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. “We believe the quality will be such that it will attract people who are not using the airport for travel that day.”
Bowing under the weight of massive debt and dwindling passengers, Lehigh Valley International Airport officials acted Tuesday to eliminate a dozen jobs and cut services such as valet parking and the airport parking shuttle.
The $19.6 million 2013 budget will mean minor inconveniences for passengers who will soon have to park their own cars, book their own flights and walk from even the most distant parking areas, but the heaviest burdens are being shouldered by airport workers losing their jobs.
Among the 12 jobs being cut Jan. 1 are seven grounds crew and ticket-counter workers, a construction manager and the airport’s only travel agent.
Anyone walking into Lehigh Valley International Airport will notice the shiny new terrazzo floor, the modern glass architecture and the new LV Cafe — the result of a $14 million makeover that took three years.
But what is also noticeable is that lately there are relatively few passengers to enjoy the new amenities.
Passenger traffic has plummeted at LVIA after three airlines left in the past year, and airport administrators will soon announce “austerity” measures that could include job cuts, fee increases and business contract reviews.
Analysts say it’s part of a national trend in which skyrocketing fuel costs have prompted air carriers like American to pull their planes from smaller regional airports. And with no relief in sight for jet fuel prices that are up 443 percent over a decade ago, it’s a situation that’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
A discount airline wants to provide nonstop jet service between Lancaster and Orlando — if the local airport authority pays its expenses here.
Allegiant Air has contacted the Lancaster Airport Authority to express interest in flying the route twice a week.
“It’s not as glamorous as it might appear,” David Eberly, airport director, said.
“They’re in a lot of smaller communities like Lancaster, and they don’t want to pay the community anything.”
In a separate development, the authority has asked the federal government to subsidize daily service to a new city on a new carrier.
Contrary to public perception, the Reading Regional Airport is not closed to air traffic.
It’s true that the airport lost its scheduled commuter service in 2004, but a local charter service is attempting to re-establish flights at the airport.
On Saturday, Reading Air Charter unveiled its new central office at the Reading Regional Airport terminal.
Its operations were previously on the North Ramp, next to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, where it continues to have a maintenance facility and school of flight.
And they’ll be looking to do it fast, because not only is Southwest not coming, the airport’s largest discount flier, AirTran, will be departing Aug. 12.
“We’ll be reaching out to carriers we think would be a good fit here. Spirit and Frontier will be among them,” Everett said. “I expect to be able to backfill those lost seats before AirTran leaves.”
AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines confirmed plans to combine operations at 22 airports and will discontinue service at Lehigh Valley International Airport and five other operations, LVIA officials announced in a news release.
The service will be discontinued at LVIA effective Aug. 12, 2012. LVIA officials said all ticketed passengers, passengers holding reservations, or passengers wanting to make reservations for flights to or from LVIA have no need to alter their travel plans.
Shortly after takeoff the pilot realized the nose gear failed to retract so he was forced to return to Avoca and circle the airport until landing clearance was given. The plane safely landed at 6:41 p.m.
Airport officials took every precaution and deployed over two dozen emergency vehicles to the runway in case of any further malfunctions when the aircraft touched down.
Passenger reactions ranged from crying and praying to one individual sleeping through the entire ordeal.
The plane was towed to the terminal for inspection. This was a connecting flight so many passengers were left scrambling to find other connections.