Port Authority Preps for ADI’s Tentative May Launch

VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Aerodynamics Inc. is eyeing a May 2 startup date for the launch of service linking Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

ADI, which last month received a certificate from the U.S. Department of Transportation approving daily scheduled service between the two airports, has tentatively scheduled an event March 3 at the airport to officially announce the service.

Dan Dickten, director of aviation at the Vienna Township airport, informed members of the Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors about the launch date at their monthly meeting Wednesday.

ADI has secured gate space at Chicago and is in the process of securing inter-line agreements with network carriers to facilitate connecting flights, Dickten said. ADI also is finalizing pre-operational requirements with the Federal Aviation Administration. Once ADI officially announces the service, individuals should be able to order tickets for flights, he said.

Since being awarded its certificate of public convenience and necessity Jan. 28 by DOT, various entities have filed objections to the department’s order based on issues surrounding SeaPort Airlines, another airline owned by ADI owners, John and Janet Beardsley. SeaPort filedChapter 11 bankruptcy Feb. 5.

ADI and Dickten have responded that SeaPort and ADI are two separate entities, and DOT has given no indication it would review its final order, Dickten said.

Marketing the new service was the topic of a presentation and discussion that lasted just over an hour before the board approved $15,000 for Palo Creative, Youngstown, for marketing work over the next 30 days including help setting up a press event next month.

Board members, who had only received Palo’s proposal Tuesday night for review, balked at approving the full plan that the marketing firm proposed and sought more details.

Palo, which under the proposal would be paid $45,515 for a year and provide $18,975 in in-kind services, had proposed a media buy of $103,600 with in-kind contribution of $33,100.

The proposal included a radio buy of $31,200 with an in-kind contribution of $15,600, $20,000 for cable with in-kind of $8,500, $17,500 for digital marketing and $7,500 for social media.

Board members, including Ron Klingle, the port authority’s chairman, were skeptical, particularly regarding the emphasis on digital marketing and the lack of spending on local television directly or print newspaper ads. The proposal calls for digital marketing on local newspaper websites.

“That’s the media” – referring to newspapers – “that’s going to give us the most attention when we kick this thing off,” Klingle said.

“I’m concerned about all of this new stuff that’s out there, whether or not it will actually accomplish what we want it to accomplish,” he added. He questioned the ability to analyze the results from the digital marketing.

Rob Palowitz, president of Palo Creative, responded that analysis of response from digital media will be “way better” than from print advertising. “That’s how it’s constructed,” he said.

Palowitz agreed to come with an amended plan addressing the concerns of the board members soon, including crafting the message that will be utilized in marketing the new service.

“We need to know what the message is going to be,” Klingle said. “We have to do it right.”

Dickten and John Moliterno, the port authority’s executive director, emphasized that the port authority needs to move forward soon on marketing the new service.

“We want to build awareness,” Dickten said.

“The initial stage is the most important time,” Moliterno said. “We need to get going.”

During the economic development division’s report, Sarah Lown, senior manager for economic development, reported that work is continuing on the proposed Auto Parkit project in Warren. Phase I assessments and asbestos surveys are underway on the two former Delphi buildings, which the company, owned by Warren native Christopher Alan, has under option to buy.

The port authority’s preliminary assessments should be done in a week to 10 days, Lown reported. Once those assessments are complete, JobsOhio, which has indicated support for the project, will consider funding Phase II assessments and remediation costs, she said.

Last October, Alan announced an 18-month period “to conduct all due diligence on the site and feasibility to ensure the successful redevelopment of the property into a major manufacturing operation,” Lown said. If the property is not in “shovel-ready condition” in 18 months he will not purchase the property, she said.

During his presentation, Anthony Trevena, economic development director, announced the new branding for the economic development division, which will be known as the Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority. Farris Marketing, Boardman, worked with the port authority on the branding.

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