US AIRWAYS Airline departs in last flight

The airport director said he is optimistic that Northwest will stay.
VIENNA -- The last US Airways flight out of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport took off ahead of schedule, leaving the airport with only one commercial carrier and cutting the number of passenger departures from the airport by 60 percent.
The airline gave notice in July that it would leave Oct. 15. Its last flight out was Saturday.
US Airways four flights per day to Pittsburgh attracted only 800 customers per month, said Thomas Nolan, the airport's director of aviation.
"We were responding to market conditions," said David Castelveter, a spokesman for US Airways. "There wasn't a demand for the service."
Cut flights: Terrorist attacks and an industry-wide shakedown prompted the airline to cut its flights by 23 percent after the decision to leave the Vienna airport was made, he said.
The airline employed six people at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport through Midwest Express, which operated the commuter line.
A Midwest Express spokeswoman declined to say if those people would be offered jobs elsewhere. Phone calls to the local terminal Tuesday afternoon were picked up by an answering machine.
Local officials have cited several possible reasons the service never took off with customers. Pittsburgh -- US Airways' main hub -- is close enough that travelers might choose to drive there to get a flight, rather than fly in the 19-seat turbo-prop planes, which have neither restrooms nor steward service, Nolan said.
"You need a destination that makes sense," Nolan said. "Their departure was, in my opinion, a direct result of the aircraft they had and the ticket prices' steadily going up."
He said reliability of the service was also an issue, because flights were frequently canceled.
Last one left: Northwest Airlines, the sole remaining airline at the airport, offers three flights per day to Detroit on 30-passenger aircraft with restrooms and a flight attendant, Nolan said.
He said he is optimistic that service will be continued, despite Northwest's decision to lay off 10,000 nationwide.
The flights attracted 500 passengers to the Vienna airport per month last year, he said.
The loss of US Airways will cost the airport $60,000 per year in rent and direct payments, and an additional $36,000 per year in payments for airport improvements, he said.
Budget: The airport runs on an annual budget of $1.2 million, $500,000 of which comes from Mahoning and Trumbull county taxpayers. The counties also contributed $200,000 each this year for capital improvements.
"Our goal is to reduce the burden to taxpayers," Nolan said. "Can that be done? Certainly. When will we do that? Only time will tell."