Via Airlines is on a tight leash with the Greenbrier Valley Airport Authority (GVAA), according to Airport Director Stephen Snyder at the board meeting on Tuesday. Snyder expressed considerable doubt the airline will be able to keep its commitments as promised over the long haul. “There is reason for concern,” he said.
Snyder told the GVAA board he has learned Via Airlines is making various other commitments to resort cities, including Branson, MO. Snyder also noted that though NCAA season is winding down, he doubted Via would discontinue their commitment to fly basketball teams to games, referring to Via’s previous use of Greenbrier Valley-committed resources to service basketball teams. Snyder said, “We’re still holding them accountable.”
Snyder cited a remark made by Via Vice President of Operations Matt Macri, which, he described as having a threatening tone. Macri made reference to the Trump administration wanting to do away with essential air service (EAS) for regional airports. “If that happens,” Macri said, according to Snyder, “then you won’t have any airline service.”
Snyder said he is keeping the Department of Transportation (DOT) informed of all developments and has alerted state representatives Shelley Moore Capito, Joe Manchin and Evan Jenkins of a need for a discussion about contract commitments in Washington, D.C. Snyder complained that “for the $4.7 million they get from the GVAA, they are performing poorly.”
On Friday, Mar. 17, Macri sent out a email regarding Via Airlines’ performance. “As promised, Via Airlines has completed all scheduled flights without any changes to the schedule or to routing. On the ticketing and baggage front, we completed training on the new system for our station managers this week at our company headquarters and will schedule training for our contract stations next week. We are developing a comprehensive performance metrics report and will be able to share detailed operational data in the next few weeks,” the email said.
Snyder agreed Via has managed nearly100 percent performance as promised for two weeks and has kept two of three required weekly meetings with him. “Big whoop-de-doo,” he said. “I don’t care what they say publicly. Let’s see what two or three months have to say.”
“I am from Missouri,” Snyder said. “You’ve got to show me.”