The Chautauqua County – Jamestown Airport has drastically cut ticket prices on service to Cleveland in an attempt to reclaim passengers who bypass their local airport and drive to other, larger ones to save money.
Silver Airways has cut round trip tickets from Jamestown to Cleveland from $168 to $98. One way tickets dropped from $84 to $49.
The 150-mile shuttle flights to Cleveland give passengers access to 150 daily departures through eight airlines via the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which is a travel hub for United Airlines.
The Jamestown Airport, which serves just under 7,000 passengers per year, used to serve 77,000 passengers 20 years ago. The federal government has subsidized the airport under its Essential Air Service program, which ensures air service to smaller communities.
“It wasn’t meant to sustain airports indefinitely. Our job is to dig out of that and become independent,” said Sam Arcadipane, the airport manager.
Jamestown is not trying to compete with the Buffalo Niagara International Airport for passengers, Arcadipane said, and has talked with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to provide similar shuttles to the airports in Buffalo and Niagara Falls from Jamestown, but because neither airport has hub status, it is prevented from doing so until it is released from regulations associated with the federal Essential Air Service program.
“I would like to partner with Buffalo to keep more money in Western New York state,” Arcadipane said.