CHO won't lose routes-- for now

Despite any frantic buzz rustled up across the country by the Business Travel Coalition's release of threatened regional airports last Wednesday, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport reports its airline service is safe from the chopping block. As of now, the only loss CHO will suffer is a suspended Delta flight to Cincinnati beginning in September. However, Delta plans to add another flight to Atlanta to supplement CHO.

The media immediately gobbled up BTC's predictions of airports that could see some or all service suspended. CHO itself promised the Hook a press release on the matter Friday, only to state today that all is well in Earlysville.

"It's hard to speculate about the future, but for now our numbers are strong," Jason Burch, CHO's Director of Air Service and Marketing, says. "It's a volotile market, but there's not one airline that's concerned about us."

For an airport that caters to corporate-based air travel, Burch predicts that in the case of a serious economic downturn, tourist-based travel will be the first to go.

"We only have a small percentage of tourism destinations at CHO," Burch says. "We're economically insulated in Charlottesville."

For an airport that has reported a stable 4.9 percent of growth from 1982 through 2007 according to Burch, small additions and suspensions are not unnatural. The future may see a possible loss of U.S. Airlines flights to Charlotte, with two flights to Philadelphia added instead.

Nevertheless, Burch insists, "Nothing major is occurring at CHO, no one airline is pulling their service. Everyone's riding this crisis out."