RST hoping to secure DFW route after being awarded $850K federal grant

(ABC 6 News) – Last week, the U.S. DOT announced that it will award $16.9 million from the Small Community Air Service Development Program to help 25 communities in 20 states develop their own solutions to local air service needs.

Rochester International Airport (RST) will receive $850,000 in federal funding.

The financial assistance helps communities establish first air services, restore lost service, and provides support to establish new routes to improve connectivity and allow people in the community to fly more easily and affordably.

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Pilot shortages, crew optimization, and airlines looking to consolidate routes are some of the things that are plaguing smaller communities.

However, RST continues to have a strong demand for service and is working to restore seat capacity that has been lost over the last three years.

In a statement to ABC 6 News, RST said in 2019 they had 100,000 available seats. In 2022, that number has declined to approximately 58,000. RST says they are continuing discussions with their airline partners as it relates to capacity and frequency.

The money from the federal grant will also be used to help financially support a route and nonstop service from RST to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Texas.

However, the federal grant does not guarantee new services and airlines make their own decisions when it comes to service levels for specific communities.

American Airlines has scheduled larger aircraft into RST this fall which will help increase seating capacity.