Owner of aviation company denies rumors of migrants being flown into Youngstown airport

Local News
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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The owner of JETS, a full-service fixed-based operator (FBO) that provides services to commercial aviation, has denied rumors that a plane carrying migrants flew into a Youngstown area airport.

A report by the New York Post and Fox News claimed a World Atlantic Airlines charter aircraft flew from McAllen, Texas to various cities including Villahermosa, Mexico; El Paso, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla. and Westchester, N.Y. on Friday. The report claimed that migrants, mostly unaccompanied children, were seen getting off the plane in Westchester County, New York.

The Fox News report went on to state that the same plane, with tail number N806WA, had also made stops at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport within the past month as well as Springfield, Mo. and Lexington, Kentucky.

A map showing those stops was on a video on Fox News’ website, but that map is no longer in the video currently on the website. Jim Renacci, who is running for governor in Ohio, included a screenshot of the map from the Fox News report, in an email that he sent to the media, questioning why a plane of migrants may have landed in Youngstown.

That report led several people to call our newsroom, questioning why we had not reported on it.

The plane did fly from Lexington, Kentucky to Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, arriving at 4:55 p.m. It then left Youngstown-Warren-Regional Airport at 7:51 p.m., flying to Springfield, Mo. on October 9, according to flight history obtained at Flightaware.com.

Mike Hillman, owner and president of JETS, tells First News that the plane was empty when it landed. Its purpose of arriving in the area was to transport a Missouri State University football team back to Springfield, Mo. after they played and lost to Youngstown State University on October 9.

Hillman states a crew from his company was present during the time the flight was being boarded and prepared. He said his company is responsible for services such as fueling the plane, handling the bag cart and stairs and more.

Hillman says he is aware that World Atlantic Airlines does work with the government, however, he says there have not been any flights in or out of Youngstown-Regional Airport transporting migrants.

WKBN also called Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s office on Wednesday regarding the reports. A spokesperson there had no information about flights of immigrants coming to Youngstown or Ohio in general.

Calls were also made Wednesday to Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown and to Catholic Charities, who denied any knowledge of migrants being flown into the area or assisting in any way.

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