<h1>Via Air travelers to and from the Greenbrier Valley had a rude awakening this week when it was announced that their flights had been cancelled.<\/h1>\r\nOn Tuesday, Via Air began cancelling flights in and out of the Greenbrier Valley Airport (GVA). The only two flights in and out of GVA were cancelled Wednesday, and one was cancelled on Thursday. The remaining Thursday flight had been combined with another flight serving the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in Virginia, meaning that passengers flying into GVA would have a layover at the Shenandoah airport instead of aboard the nonstop flight from Charlotte that they\u2019d paid for.\r\n\r\nVia Air provides Essential Air Service to GVA utilizing one 50-passenger jet. This week, said\u00a0 Greenbrier Valley Airport Director Stephen Snyder, Via opted to take that jet out of service at GVA in order to provide a charter flight from Colorado to Montana.\r\n\r\nAnd, he said, this is not the first time. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, Via cancelled flights in and out of GVA. Snyder said he tracked the aircraft and discovered it was carrying a private charter from Nassau, Bahamas, to the United States.\r\n\r\nVia just began providing air service to GVA in October after Snyder and the Greenbrier County Airport Authority opted out of a contract with Silver Airways. Snyder had campaigned to cancel Silver Airways\u2019 contract with GVA due to a pattern of late and cancelled flights, lost luggage and generally poor customer service.\r\n\r\nWhen the Essential Air Service contract was put up to bid, Via Air came back with a flight schedule that Snyder and the Greenbrier County Airport Authority found attractive - 12 nonstop flights to and from Charlotte per week with no lulls in service during the winter months.\r\n\r\nWhen Via began flying out of GVA, it did so with much fanfare including a rollout deal where passengers could fly to Charlotte for under $10 for the month of October. But, the deal quickly soured as Via began cancelling flights during some of the heaviest travel times of the year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Snyder, like his GVA customers, is not happy about it.\r\n<h2>\u201cI\u2019m downright angry about it,\u201d Snyder said. \u201cThe owner (of Via Air) has clearly placed those other customers ahead of the Essential Air Service route.\u201d<\/h2>\r\nSnyder said he spent all day Wednesday fielding complaints from angry travelers and in conference calls to the Department of Transportation (DOT). He has also reached out to the offices of Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito and Congressman Evan Jenkins.\r\n\r\n\u201cI will use every single tool at my disposal to make (Via Air) compliant, safe and on time,\u201d Snyder said. \u201cWe will not be taken for granted.\u201d\r\n\r\nNot only are they not honoring their contract with the DOT, they are directly negatively affecting the local economy, Snyder said. Via Air has contracts with airport in Beckley, Parkersburg, Clarksburg and here, at the GVA.\r\n\r\n\u201cThat\u2019s half of the commercial service in West Virginia,\u201d Snyder said. \u201cOther airports have had this same problem. Some of them have pulled jets for maintenance - which I support - but there has been a general lack of availability.\u201d\r\n\r\nVia Air receives an annual subsidy of $4,731,866 to provide GVA with Essential Air Service. Snyder said that the subsidy is paid on a per-flight basis by the DOT. When they cancel their flights, they don\u2019t get paid, Snyder said, but, he noted, they\u2019re getting paid by their private charters instead.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf Via performed what the Department of Transportation expected them to perform, we wouldn\u2019t be having this conversation,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, Snyder said he offers his deepest apologies to customers whose flights have been cancelled.\r\n\r\n\u201cI will not sleep until this problem is resolved. I promise this,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nIt is recommended that customers who are flying in and out of the GVA contact the airport directly at 304-986-4000 ext. 8905 for the most up-to-date flight information.\r\n<h2>Snyder also recommends filing a complaint with the DOT if your flight has been cancelled by Via Air. The customer service phone number for the DOT is 202-366-2220 or you can go to www.transportation.gov\/airconsumer to file online.<\/h2>\r\nThe <em>Mountain Messenger <\/em>\u00a0reached out to Via Air for comment, but did not hear back from them as of press time.