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Central Pa. aviators say they've been impacted by gas prices

Central Pa. airports are seeing fuel costs increase by 30-40% on average.

LITITZ, Pa. — Central Pennsylvania aviators say they are feeling the pinch as gas prices continue to go up. 

From local airports to flight schools, fueling costs are eating more into flying budgets.

“Aircraft fuel is about $7.70 to $8.00 at different areas. Harrisburg International is about $8.00 for the kind of fuel that they use," says John Rathmell, owner of Sports Line USA Services, a flight school based out of the Lancaster Airport.

Despite using planes that run on traditional car fuel, Rathmell says the cost to fuel his planes has gone up 35 percent.

He says he’s worried about adding a fuel surcharge for his customers to keep up with the cost—a decision he isn’t taking lightly.

“It’s really essential because you can’t take a 35 to 40 percent increase in overhead without accounting for it," explained Rathmell.

Despite this, Rathmell says his flight students budget out for lessons, meaning that gas prices haven’t turned them away.

“We haven’t seen anyone cancel or stop flying, it’s that time of year for flight students to come on board," says Rathmell.

Mark Tomlinson with the York Airport says their fuel costs are up 40 percent from this point last year. He says increase has had a impact on the airport's operating budget.

"One thing about being a privately-owned, publicly-used airport is that we are is that we don't have access to federal or state grant bloc funding for our projects," said Tomlinson. "We rely heavily on our customers to cover our operational costs."

He says the airport has seen a slight decrease in the number of recreational aviators taking flight, however they are seeing plenty of customers flying out of York Airport.

"We are still seeing a steady flow of traffic in and out of the airport," said Tomlinson.

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