Small airport cutbacks

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BINGHAMTON, NY- The number of people starting to fly again is slowly creeping up, even as several airlines announced continued cutbacks on where they fly.

As NewsChannel 34’s Trevor Shirley shows us, smaller, regional airports are getting hit the hardest.

When the pandemic paralyzed air travel in March, airlines quickly cut service, and regional airports felt it first.

“They matter for business travelers, they matter for all travelers, they create wealth in a community, says Senator Sherrod Brown.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says its about more than just the airlines, cutbacks at the airport hit hotels, restaurants and other industries.

“we’re going to see all kinds of businesses pay and communities are going to pay even more in the end,” says Brown.

Ed Mortimer of the US Chamber of Commerce said the ripple affects from air service cutbacks to regional airports could last for years.

“Its harder to participate in the global economy when you lose such air service,” says Ed Mortimer from the US Chamber of Commerce.

He praised efforts by the Federal Government to help small airports with money from the CARES Act.

“those are good to make sure those airports are maintained well, but again without the service it’s not going to be helpful,” says Mortimer.

On Tuesday, transportation secretary Elaine Chao announced more than a billion dollars in Grant Money for airports in particular regional ones.

“This federal assistance goes directly to airports in rural America,” says Elaine Chao of the Department of Transportation.

The money covers everything from the Capital improvements to employee payroll and is similar to other grants released earlier this year.

“small and middle-sized airports are very important to ensuring that rural passengers are able to get to where they go,” says Chao.

The money won’t bring the flights back.

But Chao says it will help keep the airports ready for the better economic times.

Today, the Federal Aviation Administration announced 585 thousand dollars for the Greater Binghamton Regional Airport for taxiway work and 70 grand for the Sidney Airport to conduct a study.

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