Story by Chris Graham
Customer demand – that’s what drove the move to bring bigger, roomier airplanes to the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport.
“We heard from many of our passengers who had experienced this type of airplane in other places, other regional airports, and talked to us about the possibility of upgrading the equipment. Negotiations have been going on for some time – but it was driven in large part by passenger preference,” SVRA executive director Greg Campbell said in an interview for this week’s “Augusta Free Press Show” that discussed the news from earlier in the week regarding the debut of new 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft at the Weyers Cave airport.
Colgan Air, operating as US Airways Express, brought in the bigger planes for use on its daily service linking the Valley to Washington-Dulles International Airport.
Colgan-US Airways operates three daily weekday and two daily weekend departures and arrivals out of SVRA.
The new Saab 340s offer a full bathroom and overhead storage for carry-on luggage – and has a flight attendant on board.
“Our community has responded well to the Dulles service – and they’re encouraged with what they’ve seen so far. And they’re hopeful that folks will support this investment that they’re making. Because it is an investment in our community. It costs a little bit more to operate. And they’ll ultimately need to generate more passengers to make it all work. But we’re sure that will happen,” Campbell said.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.