Travelers fearful of uncertainty if Dayton budget feud forces airport shut-down

DAYTON — The City of Dayton had about $35 million allotted for the Dayton International Airport in their 2023 budget.

The Dayton City Commission was set to vote on the budget at their meeting Wednesday night, but the vote didn’t happen because Commissioners Shenise Turner-Sloss and Darryl Fairchild abstained from voting for the budget as an emergency ordinance.

If commissioners can’t reach a deal, flights from the Dayton International Airport could come to a standstill.

>> RELATED: Special Commission Meeting set to discuss City of Dayton’s 2023 budget

News Center 7′s Xavier Hershovitz spent part of the day talking to travelers about this possible disruption.

About 80 airport employees that would be most impacted by a potential city government shutdown.

Jerry Wilde is from Richmond, Indiana, but when he has to take a flight he chooses Dayton International Airport.

“If I had any choice of any airport I’ve ever been in and out of— Dayton is by far my favorite,” Wilde said. “Nothing comes close to this one.”

>> RELATED: Police, fire service in question as Dayton City Commission fails to pass 2023 budget

He’s not alone. John Ashurt is from Harlan, Kentucky.

“I’ve met friends who’ve driven from north of here or even Indiana. And they chose to come here,” Ashurt told News Center 7.

Both men are concerned about the possibility of flights being grounded if Dayton City Commissioners can’t reach a deal on the budget.

If the airport was to shut down, that would impact about 80 employees.

The airport says to be compliant with the FAA, they must have a certain amount of aviation staff in place.

That means about two dozen flights a day would be impacted, including both commercial and cargo, such as FedEx.

The airport’s air service manager told News Center 7 that they are in a wait-and-see pattern right now, but they are hopeful commissioners will avoid a shutdown.