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Airport officials laud Gulfstream

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Officials at airports where Gulfstream International Airlines provides essential air service offer rave reviews of the company's professionalism, reliability and service.

"I think it's a wonderful service," said Robert W. Shaffer, the airport manager at DuBois (Pa.) Regional Airport. "When they say they're going to do something, they do it."

Last week, the federal Department of Transportation announced that Gulfstream had won contract renewals for four of its five cities in Pennsylvania and Western New York. A West Virginia location opted out of the program after the city expanded, but the company made up for it by winning a new West Virginia city.

Gulfstream is vying for service in Massena, Ogdensburg and Watertown, but DOT has yet to make a decision. Gulfstream has pitched air service to Boston's Logan International Airport twice daily on weekdays and once daily on weekends from Watertown and Massena, and the same frequency from Ogdensburg to Albany.

"If you're lucky enough to get them, it would be a benefit to your community," said Otho C. Bell, the airport manager at Venango Regional Airport in Franklin, Pa.

His accolades were echoed by officials at the company's other EAS cities. Several said that north country airport representatives reached out for advice on the choice. The answer? You can't go wrong with Gulfstream.

"We're very pleased with them," said David G. Sanctuary, the airport manager at Chautauqua County Airport in Jamestown. "They came into town and told us what they wanted to do, and they did everything they said they'd do and did it well."

The company is responsive to the needs of the airports, officials said. That, coupled with a good on-time rate, has officials awed, especially those who say they've had bad EAS experiences.

Mr. Shaffer said DuBois had been served by Mesa Air Group before Gulfstream came in, and ridership slowly deteriorated.

"To go from that service to what Gulfstream is doing is just night and day," Mr. Shaffer said.

Ridership at Gulfstream's EAS communities has risen steadily in the two years since flights started, according to officials.

"I was so much happier with what I was getting out of them than their predecessor," said Jerry O'Sullivan, the airport manager at Greenbriar Valley Airport in Lewisburg, W.Va.

Greenbriar gave up essential air service after a casino came into town, and with it, air service that didn't need to be federally subsidized. Gulfstream may continue to provide service without the subsidy, Mr. O'Sullivan said.

Gulfstream's north country application was endorsed by officials in Massena and Watertown, while Ogdensburg nominated Cape Air's proposal to go to Boston with a stop in Albany.

Cape Air's reputation also is stellar, Mr. O'Sullivan said. So he couldn't say which air carrier would be right for the north country.

"To me, it really depends on the personality of the community," he said.

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