Airlines Desert Small Towns, Despite Costly Investments in Infrastructure
"Earlier this decade, city officials in Hagerstown, Md., started making the case to build a longer runway at their airport to lure service by regional jets, instead of the turboprop planes that provided its only flights.
Several years and $61.4 million later, the city opened its concrete welcome mat, a new 7,000 foot runway, last November - two months after the airport lost scheduled air service altogether.
Despite its costly investment, a dogged marketing effort by local officials and even help from Congress, the airport has had no luck attracting a new carrier, as the industry struggles under soaring fuel prices.
"Could we pick a worse time to go out and get commercial service? Probably not," said Carolyn Motz, director of the Hagerstown Regional Airport, which had 10 daily flights a decade ago.
The airports have grown quiet in many other communities, too."