BEAVER - Passengers who travel from Beckley's airport may be catching connecting flights in a city other than Washington D.C. following a new bidding process at the Raleigh County Memorial
United Airlines is set to part ways with Silver Air, a smaller air carrier that flies people between Beckley and D.C. to their connecting United flights, according to Airport Manager Tom Cochran.
The Department of Transportation will soon seek bidders in hopes of continuing a seamless transition for passengers with connecting flights. This could mean a few things: A new carrier could begin work with United, keeping the current D.C. hub, or another carrier could move the hub to a city like Charlotte or Pittsburgh.
Cochran prefers a hub in D.C. where United has more than 700 daily flights, but thinks Charlotte is also an attractive idea. He hopes to prevent a lapse in air service until a new contract is signed.
“It's an economic stimulus for the development of the community to have commercial service and activity in and out, and for the past several years, we've had connections into an international airport, and that’s an hour away from anywhere in the world you want to go.”
The contract between United and Silver Air is up on July 31. If no decision has been made by that time, the DOT will ask Silver Air to continue work with United until a resolution is passed.
If Silver Air denies that request, commercial air traffic at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport would cease pending a new contract.