Airport plans more marketing

PARKERSBURG – Marketing efforts at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport will be ramped up in light of a new agreement between two airlines, the airport manager told the Wood County Commission on Monday.

ViaAir and American Airlines have signed a new interline agreement making travel from the airport easier for business and leisure passengers, Manager Glen Kelly said. Kelly also updated the commission on the creation of a Foreign Trade Zone and a flight school at the airport.

Under the new agreement with American, ViaAir passengers can make connections on American and check their bags straight through to their destination without having to go back through security or buy additional tickets, Kelly said.

“We are hopeful this agreement will make this a very viable option for business travelers as well as leisure travelers to farther destinations,” Kelly said.

ViaAir flies from the regional airport to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Marketing efforts will be stepped up with the new agreement with American Airlines, Kelly said. “Filling a 50-seat jet two times a day will be great for business and leisure travelers,” he said.

“We are seeing a more diverse clientele also, now drawing from the Akron, Canton, Youngstown area and from other parts of Ohio as well as in state,” he said.

Efforts also are underway to establish a Foreign Trade Zone, he said. A meeting to review the zone will be held noon March 21 at the airport restaurant with business leaders, he said.

Officials with the state Economic Development Authority and local chamber officials have been supportive and will be at the meeting, which will also include ViaAir representatives, Kelly said.

“We hope any businesses interested will attend that meeting,” he said.

Lunch is $10. Reservations can be made by contacting the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, 304-422-3588.

The initiative could be on the fast track if it’s decided to move ahead since the area is already a part of a sub-zone for another Trade Zone, Kelly said. It usually takes up to two years, but that timeframe could be expedited to 30 days to establish the zone, he said.

“We would also like to see possible expansion of the TIF zone for investment purposes,” Kelly said.

Kelly told commissioners there are discussions underway for a flight school at the airport.

“I believe that is key to the future,” he said, noting a nationwide pilot shortage.

“These plans should combine to create jobs and hopefully will benefit everyone in the area and not just the airport,” Kelly said.