MOUNT ALTON — In an airline update, an officer of the Southern Air Express, the low-fare carrier providing Essential Air Service to the Bradford Regional Airport, told airport authority members Wednesday that this company’s recent pilot recruitment program has been successful with new pilots added on a regular basis.
Mark Cestari, SAE chief commercial officer, said, “There are more new pilots being hired than those who are leaving, so we’re ahead of the curve. With the new pilots, we’re better able to move pilots to markets where they live.”
Cestari reported that SAE now has an interline agreement with American Airlines and Condor Airlines at three Pennsylvania airports: DuBois, Altoona and Johnstown. These agreements, which are designed for the convenience of those passengers who must fly on two airlines to reach their destinations, permit passengers to purchase one ticket for the entire trip and also cover luggage transfers and liability.
“By the end of the year, we could also have interline agreements with United and JetBlue,” said Cestari.
Referring to an airline document that was shared with the media, Cestari noted that once passengers reach Pittsburgh and continue on their trips, American, Southwestern and Delta are the top choices. After Pittsburgh, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are the most popular destinations.
For May, the majority of SAE’s enplaned passengers were Bradford residents, with Smethport and Kane tied for second.
In an effort to increase passenger traffic at Bradford, Cestari said that the airline plans to embark on an aggressive campaign to attract some of those passengers who used the former Jamestown, N.Y., airport who are now traveling to Buffalo, N.Y.
Concerning earlier flights from Bradford to Pittsburgh, Cestari said company officials would refer to the number of responses for this service on a future passenger survey.