Air Services Task Force Forming Goals for CRW, Charleston Area

CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Business leaders from all sectors of Charleston, including government, tourism, technology, chemicals, banking, law and education, have partnered with the Charleston Area Alliance and the West Virginia Yeager International Airport (CRW) to form an Air Services Task Force.

The first of its kind in about 50 years, Nick Keller, CRW’s airport director and CEO, told MetroNews, it has already met once since its launch and progressed in discussions. The task force was created to propose a strategic plan and goals to retain and attract additional air service to CRW through minimum revenue guarantees and incentives.

Airports across the country are competing for the development of air services and airlines consider many factors when investing in the markets, according to a statement. One of these factors is community support.

Nick Keller

“It’s one thing for the airport to go to the airlines and say ‘we need a new route’, but it’s another thing to get a task force like this, with the business, hospitality and government sectors all on the same page, supporting the same goals,” Keller said of the community support.

Keller said an air service survey sent by the Charleston Area Alliance (CAA) received more than 700 respondents, and Charleston’s primary market needs were flights to New York, Dallas and Houston. He said the results were given to an air services consultant who then made a presentation at the group’s first meeting.

He added that the group will then target markets, try to retain service and increase service for certain markets.

“Having a unified group behind the airline service that is not the airport is a benefit for us,” Keller said.

President and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance (CAA), Nicole Christian told MetroNews that she was approached by Keller about the group’s ability to qualify for the minimum revenue guarantees and incentives. These incentives are like an insurance policy for airlines, as CRW could be considered a risk.

Nicole Christian

Christian said the airport is an asset to the community and anything that happens there impacts the entire region.

“We look forward to continuing to work together. All the good things that will happen at the airport mean good things for our whole community,” she said.

Members of the working group include:

Michael J Basil, Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC
Tim Brady, Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Fonda Elliot, Commercial Operations
Georgette George, Monarch/Ridgeline Properties
Steven Hedrick, MATRIC Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research & Innovation Center
Shannon Huber, Dow, Inc.
Mike McCown, Industrial Bolting Technologies, Inc.
Chris Morris, Citynet
Marcus Phillips, Kureha PGA, LLC
Jack Rossi, Summit Community Bank
Jeff Sandene, Charleston Area Medical Center
Lance Wheeler, Kanawha County Commission
Aaron Sporck, Huntington National Bank
Moore Capito, Babst Calland Clements & Zomnir, CP
Jeri Adkins, Charleston Area Alliance
Nicole Christian, Charleston Area Alliance
Nick Keller, West Virginia Yeager International Airport
Dominique Ranieri, West Virginia Yeager International Airport
Charles Dusic, West Virginia Regional Technology Park Corp.
Matthew Sutton, City of Charleston

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