Its runway is the second longest in the state, and even Air Force One has landed there. It's right on the edge of one of the wealthiest regions in the nation, and sits near the junction of two major intestate highways. So why won't anyone fly to Hagerstown, Maryland, where the 7,000-foot runway was completed late last year at a cost of about $62 million? Just west of the wealthy Montgomery County suburbs of Washington DC and just north of Virginia's very wealthy hunt and wine country, the Hagerstown Regional Airport has been without scheduled passenger flights since the end of September 2007 when Air Midwest ended its service. Under the US Airways Express rubric, Air Midwest flew 19-seaters under federal subsidy between Pittsburgh and Hagerstown. But now, we hear that the airport may be about to announce new service.
It is expected to say that Allegiant Air, the Las Vegas-based carrier that flies to vacation spots from much-underserved airports such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Fargo, North Dakota, will fly between Hagerstown and Orlando Sanford, one of its prime destinations. Allegiant usually starts with two flights a week from new cities and increases frequencies if, the service catches on. The airline uses 150-seat and 130-seat MD80s, and some work may be needed on Hagerstown's baggage-handling facilities. PS: The longest runway in the state of Maryland? That's at BWI, the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore/Washington International Airport. PPS: No one has applied to serve Hagerstown under the federal Essential Air Service subsidy program.