Airport: County money won’t fix woes

We’re not sure spending county government money is what was meant when the federal government said it wanted to see area residents have skin in the game regarding the county airport at Jamestown.

Before county legislators approve $72,000 a year in spending to prove to the federal government that locals are willing to back the airport, we hope legislators get a better answer to this question: what has changed that will make Boutique Air successful where so many others have failed? How will this $72,000 a year be money be well spent where so much county spending on the airport has been wasted on commercial air service that has struggled to attract customers?

Much is being made of Boutique Air’s ability to turn around other struggling airports. Before a dime of county money is spent, residents deserve to know why Boutique Air’s past as a turnaround artist will work in Chautauqua County, rather than be asked to take leap of faith that Boutique Air will fix the airport simply because it is a better carrier than the ones that were here before.

Nowhere have we yet seen how Boutique Air fixes the biggest issue the federal government cited when it denied essential air service contracts earlier this year — the ease of traveling to bigger airports in Buffalo and Erie from the Jamestown area. Until legislators are reasonably sure that Boutique Air has solved that problem, they must not approve an additional allocation of county funding for the airport.

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