HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Hagerstown Regional Airport was once packed to the brim with passengers getting on and off their flights. However, it could look like a lot emptier than before.
Flights offered by Southern Airways could be suspended due to the termination of the Essential Air Service waiver eligibility.
“The EAS program is a subsidized federal program that we get air service and Southern Airways is the contract,” said Director Garrison Plessinger. “Southern Airways will be departing if this is terminated.”
The termination is based on 2018’s Fiscal Year when the airport suffered from the effect of the national pilot shortage and failed to meet several requirements. However, staff members say they have mixed feelings about the situation.
“It’s a little frustrating that they’re basing it off of 2018 data when we’re compliant now, we just needed a little bit of help along the way and they seem to be yanking the rug out from under us it seems, but we’re making it through,” said Plessinger.
Passengers can still fly through Allegiant Airlines, but several daily flights could be canceled if the United States Court of Appeals rules against Washington County’s Aviation Counsel’s petition. Plessinger says he has a plan to make sure employees are taken care of if the petition is rejected.
“TSA is also affected by this, so they’re looking to have their employees go to different airports during the non-flight days of Allegiant for here,” said Plessinger.
Should the ruling not be in Hagerstown’s favor, southern’s scheduled flights to and from the regional airport will be suspended effective October 19th.
Senators Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen, Richard Blumenthal and Representative David Trone are urging President Donald Trump that the discontinuation at Hagerstown would have adverse impacts for airports in other states. But above all, they urge the administration to retain EAS support for Hagerstown.