Palmer airport's status soars
Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity is ranked among the top airports in the country, officials said on Tuesday.
The airport's increasing passenger numbers caused it to soar higher on two ranking lists.
For the first time in recent memory, the airport is ranked among the top 500 passenger airports in the country — flying in at No. 219, based on the number of outbound passengers, said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority.
The ranking was compiled using U.S. Department of Transportation numbers by Oregon-based Sixel Consulting Group.
Pittsburgh International is ranked at No. 43 with 3.3 million passengers from March 2012 to March 2013.
Latrobe flew 91,420 passengers, a 400 percent increase from March 2011 to March 2013 because of Spirit Airlines service that began in February 2011.
Another report ranked Arnold Palmer airport at No. 33 among airports in the eastern region using those same outbound numbers, the authority learned at its meeting on Tuesday.
The report from aviation consultants Mead & Hunt Inc., released every six months for the Federal Aviation Administration, saw the Unity airport go up two places, from No. 35, just 2,540 passengers behind Erie's airport.
“We're moving up, so it's a great thing,” Monzo said.
Pennsylvania has 133 public-use airports and heliports, including 15 with commercial service. Pittsburgh International is ranked at No. 8 in the region.
Authority Chairman Don Rossi said 1,000 people per day are flying into and departing from the Unity airport.
“We're growing at a very rapid rate and we're very young, we're an infant in the system,” he said.
The airport is beginning to update its master plan, which is meant to guide the authority for 20 years. It was last reworked in 2001.
Rossi asked the authority to consider the direction of the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.
In July, 30,165 passengers used the airport. The total for the first six months of the year reached 144,967 passengers — only 1,689 behind the entire total for 2012.
“We don't want to build on ‘ifs,' we want to build on solid ground,” he said. “We allowed this to grow and happen for the community's sake, and they're using it.”
Jeff Minkovich, operations manager for Latrobe Airline Services, reported that Spirit Airlines has awarded the airport the Crystal Award for customer service for the third time.
“We're very grateful Spirit acknowledges the staff here is doing a wonderful job providing outstanding customer service to Spirit passengers,” he said.
The award, given quarterly, takes into account the training, customer service and on-time performance of the 35 employees that provide ramp and customer services.
“Everybody has an integral part in making that happen,” Minkovich said.
In other business, solicitor Donald Snyder reported the authority has closed a $15,000 deal with Westmoreland Aviation to sell the building at 148 Aviation Lane where the flight school operates at the airport. Owners of the school are considering an expansion, Monzo said.
The authority will retain ownership of the land.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police investigate Hempfield fight
- Fuel cell company leaves New York to operate plant in Mt. Pleasant Township
- North Huntingdon man struck by car, killed near Yough High School
- Podlucky mansion in Ligonier Township will go to sheriff’s sale
- Munchinski can proceed with civil rights action, judge rules
- Reinstated Delmont officer claims he’s isn’t being allowed to go back on patrol
- 40-year-old Latrobe woman used boy, 13, for sex, drugs, police say
- Greensburg’s century-old YMCA reopens after makeover
- Scottdale Fall Festival marks 40th year
- Crash closes part of Route 30 in Unity
- Mt. Pleasant Glass Festival prepares for pageants