JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The DuBois Regional Airport hosted U.S. Congressman Glenn Thompson along with state representatives and other local officials for a breakfast and tour to show what is happening at the facility. 

The growth of the DuBois Regional Airport continues as one airline called Southern Airways Express looks to make it a destination for new pilots. Based in Palm Beach, Florida, Southern Airways Express is a commuter airline serving nearly 40 American cities across five U.S. time zones. Southern operates a fleet of over thirty aircraft, including the Cessna Caravan/Grand Caravan, the King Air Super 200, and the Citation Bravo.

“All the things going on here, the growth that they’re doing, the maintenance program they have, Southern is planning on putting a school here for new pilots to train them on the aircraft that they use,” Representative Brian Smith from the 66th District said. 

The new training center would get commercial pilots trained and sent across the country. Officials were able to tour the facilities as well as get a sneak peek into the training center. The addition of the training center would allow pilots to come to DuBois rather than going to Hawaii and Florida. Officials added that this would be a economic driver for the community.

“Really provides affordable interstate transportation. A lot of people think about transportation infrastructure and they limit it to roads and bridges,” Congressman Glenn Thompson said.  Our airports, especially our rural communities, these small, rural, regional airports, they’re a force for good. They’re an economic driver.”

The airport’s potential growth hinges on future investments both public and private, and officials say they are committed to helping

“I got to see the wonderful assets that they have and the plans that they have for future growth,” Secretary of Transportation Michael Carroll said.  “Future growth depends on support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government. We look forward to providing the support that DuBois needs to make sure that they can expand and grow.”

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Airport manager Bob Shaffer says this is an investment not only for the airport but for the community 

“PennDOT just recently released a plan that shows we’re about 26 million in economic development,” Shaffer said. “My favorite thing is even cut it in half. We’re putting 13 million into the community from this facility,”