by Nora Edinger
BRIDGEPORT -- Two Harrison County commissioners and two Marion County commissioners were the lone attendees of a Tuesday Benedum Airport Authority meeting.
Without a quorum of six, what would have been the first meeting of a restructured authority dissolved into an informal discussion of how to keep daily flights to Washington, D.C.
On Monday, Air Midwest Airline, Inc. informed airport officials they are discontinuing the capital route as of Sept. 24 because of financial losses. Air Midwest is a US Airway's contractor.
Lane Rush, manager of US Airways and Comair operations at Harrison-Marion Regional Airport, told the commissioners a new carrier is likely to pick up the routes.
Based on conversations with Air Midwest officials, Rush believes Potomac Airlines is interested.
Roger Diaz, Harrison County commissioner, expressed disappointment the board could not take any action Tuesday because of low attendance. Harrison Commissioner Jim Smith and Marion commissioners Jim Sago and Cecily Enos expressed similar thoughts.
"All of these people who have been appointed ... by this act of Legislature are absent," Diaz said in reference to a new state law that restructured the board as of July 1. "I can only wonder what their reasons are."
Missing from the meeting were Dr. Daniel Bradley, president of Fairmont State College; Fred VanKirk, state transportation secretary; Kim Haws, Bridgeport City Manager; and three appointees from the Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex, Jim Skidmore, Charles Koukoulis and Gary Smith.
Representatives from Bradley's, VanKirk's, Haws' and Koukoulis' offices said the men were out. Skidmore and Smith did not return a phone message left at the MAAC office.
A final member of the new board, attorney Ralph Bean, officially resigned by letter Tuesday because of an undisclosed conflict of interest. Diaz said the state Council for Community and Economic Development will need to appoint a new member, per the new state law.
A lawsuit debating the new law is pending in Kanawha County Circuit Court. The former authority sued Gov. Bob Wise and several state entities in June, challenging the constitutionality of the change in membership.
Regional editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org