Dickten Urges Speedy DOT Approval for Air Service

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Officials at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport hope meet soon with the carrier that has proposed providing daily flights to Chicago.

Airport management and the new owners of Aerodynamics Inc. are awaiting a decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation on the airline’s fitness and certification of public convenience and necessity for interstate daily service, Dan Dickten said Wednesday.

Dickten is director of aviation at the Vienna Township airport for the Western Reserve Port Authority.

In May, ADI Acquisition Co. LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, entered into a stock purchase agreement with former ADI executive Scott Beale to acquire 100% of ADI. ADI Acquisition is owned equally by John and Janet Beardlsey, who also own 80% of the voting interests in SeaPort Airlines through a holding company, Janair LLC.

“We are expecting a decision for SeaPort Airlines operated by ADI daily service airline fitness and certification of public convenience and necessity for the interstate daily air service,” Dickten said.

“If we were to [learn] that decision in the next few days or the next week or so, we could then do an air service announcement for a [potential Oct. 1] startup for daily flights between Youngstown-Warren Regional airport and Chicago O’Hare International airport,” he continued.

DOT had balked at ADI’s request to provide scheduled service at Youngstown-Warren and questioned the airline’s fitness to operate when concerns were raised about Beale. The concerns were based on a fraud finding against Beale in a civil case last year. He agreed to resign his executive and board positions and sell his interest in the company.

According to an aide to one of the U.S. senators from Ohio who contacted DOT last week, its staff is reviewing the July 16 submission and assigning it “high priority,” Dickten said. The information had been requested about the change of ownership at ADI, which took place between February and June.

“They met all the requirements that the Department of Transportation Office of Airline fitness laid out and we’re looking for a positive decision,” Dickten said.

Earlier this week, the director of aviation posted a comment on the ADI docket in which he urged “timely approval” of ADI’s fitness and interstate air service certification. He pointed out that the company “has responded in a positive and timely manner” to meet DOT’s requests and requirements. Approvals by this Friday would make daily air service available on or “slightly before” Oct. 1, he wrote.

Further delays could jeopardize the success of the air service because “such startups in the winter months are more difficult to initially sustain,” he added.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.