Fayetteville airport still seeking service to D.C.>

Fayetteville airport still seeking service to D.C.

By Nick Needham
Staff writer

Landing nonstop service to Washington, D.C., is still the top priority for the Fayetteville Regional Airport.
Director Brad Whited said the airport on Thursday applied for a small community air service development grant through the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant would provide $300,000 in advertising dollars to promote new service to the nation’s capital when a carrier agrees to provide it.
Whited would not say if the airport commission had been in talks with any airlines that may be interested in the route, but he said efforts to land the nonstop service continue.
In February, the airport commission adopted new incentives to try and woo another airline to the city.
The airport would waive landing fees and offer other perks, such as free employee parking, for a year. The commission also agreed to spend up to $50,000 in a local advertising campaign on behalf of the new service.
Already the incentives have paid off, Whited said.
American Eagle began service in June with two daily flights to its hub city of Dallas/Fort Worth.
Whited said the advertising campaign is where the grant money would help out the commission.
“We could do what we originally planned to do plus a whole lot more,” Whited said. “But getting the money will be competitive.”
Last year, 85 airports applied for the grant and only 20 received money from the FAA, Whited said.
The airport conducted a questionnaire that was open to the public last winter to gauge demand for the D.C. service.
Whited said based on the results of the study, the airport could see up to an additional 34,000 passengers annually boarding a plane.
The FAA is expected to announce the winners of the grant money in January.
Staff writer Nick Needham

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