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Colgan Clips Local Flight Schedule

July 15, 2008

By Randy Griffith, Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

Jul. 15–Soaring fuel prices are being blamed for the loss of one daily round-trip flight from the Johnstown and Altoona airports.

Effective Aug. 1, Colgan Air will reduce its schedule to three flights on weekdays, one on Saturday and two on Sunday. All flights connect the local airports to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C.

“We put that (fourth flight) in hoping to stir the market,” said Joe Williams, spokesman for Colgan’s parent company, Pinnacle Airlines Corp. “It wasn’t working.

“We pulled out of that one because of fuel considerations.”

The cutback at the peak of summer travel season could cut into airport leaders’ campaign to bring fliers back to Johnstown after a construction-related shutdown, one expert said.

“I can understand cutting back come this fall,” said Larry Hoover of Westmont, a former airline executive. “But August is the prime travel month of the year for all the airlines. They continue to do stuff that just stymies me.”

What’s worse, Hoover said, is which flights Colgan chose to eliminate. Cutting the 5:45 a.m. departure from Johnstown and the 11:20 p.m. arrival from Dulles could hamper travel for those trying to make connections.

“You always want to start as early as possible,” Hoover said. “Coming from the West Coast, if your flight is delayed with problems and you don’t catch that earlier flight, you are stuck in Dulles for the night now.”

Colgan management will continue to monitor service, review feedback and consider future changes as the situation warrants, Williams said.

Meanwhile, the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority is stepping up advertising to boost ridership.

“We’ve been out of business, so to speak, for a month,” member Charles Moyer said.

“We’ve got to get these customers back.”

Cutting costs

Colgan Air is citing fuel prices for the elimination of one daily flight between Johnstown and Dulles.

Departures

Now Aug. 1

5:45 a.m. 9:55 a.m.

9:45 a.m. 2:33 p.m.*

2:33 p.m.* 6:33 p.m.

6:33 p.m.

Arrivals

Now Aug. 1

9:35 a.m.* 9:35 a.m.*

2:03 p.m. 2:03 p.m.

6:13 p.m.* 6:13 p.m.*

11:20 p.m.

* Designates nonstop flights; other flights stop in Altoona.

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Copyright (c) 2008, Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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