County Comment: Senator Mikulski, Commissioners Welcome Cape Air
PHOTO CAP: Senator Barbara Mikulski and Commissioner John Barr Welcome Cape Air President Dan Wolf to Washington County at Inauguration Ceremonies for flights from HGR to BWI
Senator Mikulski, Commissioners Welcome Cape Air
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland
Cape Air officially began service to Hagerstown Regional Airport (HGR) on April 7th with ceremonies featuring U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, Commissioner John Barr and the airline's President and CEO, Dan Wolf.
Mikulski addressed the job opportunities the airfield provides to the state and region, with its aircraft-related industry.
"Every great and growing area needs a great and growing airport," Mikulski said, "but every great and growing airport needs an airline," commending Cape Air for providing essential air service to rural communities.
Mikulski said that "Team Maryland", herself, Senator Ben Cardin, former Senator Paul Sarbanes and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett fought hard to return the Essential Air Service (EAS) designation to HGR, paving the way for Cape Air's four flight per day schedule from Hagerstown to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Citing the fight for funding for extension of the runway and the fight for EAS, Mikulski likened the airport t a soap opera, because there was always something that had to be dealt with.
"My whole belief is that one of the roles of the United States Congress is to be able to work with the community and to work with the private sector on how we can create jobs. And part of the growth here in Hagerstown and part of this gateway to Western Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania is to have an airport and that's why we worked so hard," Mikulski said.
"For me it's about jobs at the airport," she said. "The fact that right across the way we have a growing defense industry," that is creating jobs in the community.
Mikulski commended Cape Air, which has been in operation since 1989, flying to sites in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York State, South Florida, the Caribbean and Micronesia, for what she called its "Outstanding record of service and safety".
"I believe we can count on Cape Air," Mikulski said.
Washington County Commissioners' President John Barr thanked the Congressional delegation for "all the hard work that you do daily for the citizens of Washington County."
Chair of the Airport Advisory Commission Wayne Alter talked about Mikulski's tireless efforts to improve the airport.
"We have an increase in jobs and opportunity at this airport in time when this country and our state are struggling wit an economic crisis. This is a beacon of light in this time that we are living in," he said.
Cape Air President and CEO Dan Wolf introduced members of the corporate staff and staff serving at HGR as part of the employee-owners of the airline. Information on flight schedules is available at www.flyhagerstown.com or www.flycapeair.com.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mikulski met with County Commissioners, HGR staff and members of the Airport Advisory Commission.
Items discussed during that meeting included funding for improvements to I-81 as part of the multi-state effort to make needed changes on the federal interstate highway along its entire route from the border of New York State and Canada to its terminus in Dandridge, Tennessee. The group also discussed a need for aircraft mechanic instruction and certification programs that could be housed at the airport.