University Park Airport. Photo by Geoff Rushton | StateCollege.com
The Centre County Airport Authority is looking to bring another major connection to University Park Airport, and county and local governments are pitching in with an “incentive” package to strengthen the effort.
The authority is in talks with American Airlines about establishing a minimum of two flights a day, six days a week to and from Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina.
Centre County’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a commitment of $250,000 from the county’s $31 million in American rescue plan funds toward an incentive pool that will be offered to American to assist with upfront costs if the airline decides to provide the expanded service.
“As we all know, expanded air service is really one of the keys to attracting new businesses, expanded businesses in our region,” County Administrator Margaret Gray said. “We’ve been told numerous times that if we could expand air service in and out of University Park Airport that we would stand a much better chance of attracting additional businesses to the county. Furthermore, expanded air service for our residents opens up lots of tourism possibilities and lots of opportunities for our residents to travel outside the Centre Region and Centre County.”
Commissioner Michael Pipe said the airport authority cannot use its own operating funds to incentivize airlines, so the county has led an effort to develop an incentive pool of at least $500,000 with contributions from several municipal governments, using their American Rescue Plan or dedicated economic development funds, as well as private sector commitments.
Penn State led a similar effort in 2012-13 with a $500,000 incentive to attract United Airlines to bring service from University Park Airport to Chicago O’Hare.
Patton Township’s Board of Supervisors approved last week a $12,500 commitment from Rescue Plan funds. State College is expected to…