MASSENA Cape Air will continue to offer flights in and out of Massena International Airport as the result of a two-year renewal of its federal subsidy announced Monday.
Cape Air operates in Massena and Ogdensburg through a contract with the federal Essential Air Service program, which is designed to cover small, rural markets that commercial carriers might not otherwise serve. Cape Airs contract for Ogdensburg was not up for renewal this year, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumers office, which announced the renewed Massena contract. The company is based in Barnstable, Mass.
Since Cape Air began its Massena service in 2008, Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said, the number of riders has continually increased, with a significant jump occurring in 2011 when the airline introduced connecting flights to Boston.
According to Mr. Gray, the airline served 3,298 passengers in 2010, a number that increased to 4,383 in 2011 and 4,773 in 2012. This year got off to a solid start with 343 passengers served in January.
Were continuing to see an uptick, Mr. Gray said.
The service from Cape Air has been stellar, he said. They are a very reliable company, and we are pleased to have them at Massena International Airport.
Mr. Gray noted that finding an airline to serve the north country can be difficult, and hes thankful for the federal subsidy that helps ensure service for the people in the Massena area.
Its not an easy thing to attract carriers, he said, adding Cape Air was the only airline that sought the contract. Obviously the subsidy from the federal government helps; it wouldnt happen without it.
Under the contract, Cape Air will continue to offer three nonstop flights each day to Albany, which offer connecting service to Boston.
If people are looking to go to Albany for business, its great, down and back in one day; and if people are going beyond Albany, great connections are available, he said.
There is no question about it: Access to air travel is good for businesses, good for jobs and good for the financial health of the community, and Im pleased to announce that service from Massena to Boston will continue through 2015, Mr. Schumer said in a statement. Having local and affordable air service in your region shouldnt be a special privilege reserved for a lucky few, and Cape Airs new contract at Massena International Airport will bring more opportunities for St. Lawrence County and north country residents and businesspeople.