Sen. Bob Casey Backs Efforts to Land Erie-D.C. Air Service

July 19, 2019

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is supporting Erie International Airport efforts to secure air service between Erie and Washington, D.C.

In a Thursday letter to United Airlines President and CEO Oscar Munoz, Casey, D-PA, urged Munoz to add flights between Erie and Washington's Dulles International Airport.

"I urge United Airlines to seriously consider adding flights from Erie International Airport (ERI) to Dulles International Airport (IAD)," Casey said in a statement released to the Erie Times-News. "Improving transportation access to northwestern Pennsylvania is a crucial way to help grow economic opportunity in the region."

The service would be a major convenience for local travelers, Casey said in the letter.

"Currently, Erie residents would have to travel over 100 miles to either Buffalo (New York) or Cleveland (Ohio) to get a nonstop flight to IAD, or deal with an at least five-hour trip when taking a connecting flight ..." Casey said.

"Adding nonstop United Airlines service between ERI and IAD will attract more customers and allow residents of northwestern Pennsylvania to have the option of taking flights that depart and arrive closer to their homes. Additionally, this route would provide an attractive and affordable route for local residents to use," Casey said.

Casey pledged to support airline efforts to add the service.

"I stand ready to assist United Airlines with adding flights to between ERI and IAD," he said.

Erie International Airport Executive Director Derek Martin has been lobbying airline officials to add two nonstop flights daily between Erie and Dulles.

The Erie Regional Airport Authority has applied for a $292,000 U.S. Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service grant related to the proposed service. The grant would provide a $400 credit per flight to the airline for operating from the airport.

The airline has been receptive to the proposal for the new air service, Martin told authority members in June.

A decision on the grant from the Department of Transportation isn't likely until fall at the earliest, Martin said Thursday. And while there's no guarantee that the airline will add the service if the airport gets the grant, the airline remains receptive to the proposal, he said.

"The signs are positive," Martin said.

United presently offers service between Erie and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Erie also is served by Delta Air Lines, which operates daily flights to and from Detroit, and American Airlines, which provides daily flights to Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Valerie Myers can be reached at 878-1913 or by email. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNmyers.

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