ADI, Airport Respond to Latest Objections

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Aerodynamics Inc. characterized as meritless two objections filed last week against the order allowing it to provide service to Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to reject both.

ADI, purchased last year by John and Janet Beardsley, sought the certification to permit it to provided scheduled daily flights between the Regional Airport in Vienna Township and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

On Friday, JA Flight Services LLC and Sun Air Express each filed objections to the Jan. 28 DOT order granting ADI a certificate of public convenience and necessity. The filings cite issues with SeaPort Airlines, which the Beardsleys also own and which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Monday.

In its motion, filed Tuesday, ADI responded that the JAFS’s objection is “a nearly verbatim copy-cat of the meritless objection” filed Feb. 3 by Executive Express Aviation LLC. The objection “wrongly treats SeaPort and ADI as if they are one and the same airline” and “wrongly claims that allegations about SeaPort’s actions involving aircraft leases between SeaPort and JAFS and maintenance documentation have implications for ADI’s fitness to hold certificate authority.”

The filing argues that ADI is not a party to the agreements the objection references nor do they involve aircraft ADI operates, and neither ADI nor its owner guaranteed the agreements.

“Although SeaPort and ADI may have common ownership, they are completely separate business entities and separate air carriers with separate DOT and [Federal Aviation Administration] authorities,” the motion states. The carriers operate different types of aircraft, offer different services, operate independently of one another and have separate full-time officers and key personnel.

Also, financial information ADI provided to support its certificate application showed it did not rely on funds from SeaPort. The JAFS objection is “a private commercial contract dispute between JAFS and SeaPort that has nothing to do with ADI.”

The filing further calls the Sun Air objection a “red herring,” and again argues that SeaPort and ADI are separate companies.” It also states, contrary to the Sun Air claim, that SeaPort “promptly notified” DOT’s Air Carrier Fitness Division regarding the resignation of its former CEO.

ADI also said it important to understand Sun Air’s “ulterior motives,” despite its claims of having “no other interest in either ADI or SeaPort” than seeing communities receive the basic services to which they are entitled. Sun Air provides Essential Air Services to “certain communities” and awarding the certificate to ADI would make ADI a “potential EAS competitor to Sun Air.”

The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport also responded to the recent filings with a news release Tuesday afternoon, stating that officials there “remain confident” in ADI’s ability to provide daily flights to Chicago. “We expect that ADI’s Youngstown flights will begin in late April to early May, with plans to work up to three daily round-trip flights depending on passenger demand,” Dan Dickten, the airport’s aviation director, said in the release.

In the statement, Dickten also questioned the motivation of the “commentators,” and added that DOT wouldn’t have approved service if the agency didn’t feel ADI could “adequately provide” the local service.

“Is the commentator a creditor of SeaPort, a competitor or an investor of a competitor?” Dickten questioned. “The allegations in the objections relate to SeaPort and have nothing to do with ADI. What do they have to gain should ADI’s reputation be stained? These comments are inspired by self-interest, not the public interest, and must be looked at with extreme skepticism.”

 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.