DUNKIRK AIRPORT: Is facility still viable?
No one loves the Chautauqua County-Dunkirk Airport more than Lou Nalbone. He’s seen its beginnings and its heydays.
But for now, the slow economy of the region that has affected so many small businesses has finally caught up to the airport. Last week, Nalbone announced the fixed-base operation he oversees will come to an end in Dunkirk on Oct. 31.
“It was so hard of a decision that I put it off a number of years,” Nalbone told the OBSERVER. “It’s a long history that I personally have with it.”
County Executive Vince Horrigan said there are potential candidates to take the place, but it leads to a bigger question: does the airport in Dunkirk need to be maintained? A possible sale of the airports — both here and in Jamestown — has been discussed in the past. Nalbone, who has operations in Jamestown, believes there is a future in that market.
He’s leaving Dunkirk, however, which speaks volumes.
Because of the family history, Nalbone had a commitment to Dunkirk. On Nov. 1, that commitment ends.
Chautauqua County is currently dealing with a budget for 2018. It sold the Chautauqua County Home because its expenses exceeded its revenues — and the deficit would get worse in the future.
Even with a new provider, there are serious concerns about the airport going forward. County legislators, who have had a fairly easy ride since making a tough decision to sell the County Home, need to start looking at the airport and its future. If costs exceed revenues, the answer becomes clearer.