The North Central West Virginia Airport is one of the airports across the nation that benefits from the Essential Air Service Program, which a CBS News investigation finds out,may be costing taxpayers money by allowing flights to leave with little to no customers.
With a daily service to D.C., flights to Orlando, and now Myrtle Beach, we are seeing many flights in and out of the region.
5 News spoke with the local airport about this investigation, and about what they have to say about the program.
Executive Director Rick Rock says the Essential Air Service program is something that helps many rural areas have air service, which he says everyone has a right to, whether you live in a major city or not.
Rock tells 5 News almost every flight that leaves from the NCWV airport is about 90% full.
While he admits the program may need some changes, without it, Rock says our area wouldn’t see such a huge financial boost from the airport, and also says it’s his goal to get closer to becoming independent from the group.
“My goal, personally, for this airport, is one day to be able to be self-sustaining, and not have to be a part of the program,” Rock said. “I think that there could be some changes to the program that could make it more efficient. Without that program, we probably wouldn’t have a daily service here in this airport and a lot of smaller airports in West Virginia.”
With the addition of the nonstop seasonal flights to Myrtle Beach, Rock says he anticipates even more growth from the airport over the coming years.