Feds choose SkyWest airline for Ogdensburg, Massena

OGDENSBURG — SkyWest Airlines has been chosen by the United States Department of Transportation to provide essential air services at Ogdensburg and Massena airports.

In an order issued by federal officials today, the U.S. DOT said SkyWest has been selected to service both Massena and Ogdensburg airports with 50-passenger CRJ200 aircraft for a two-year contract extending from April 1 until March 31, 2021.

“At each community, SkyWest will provide 12 round trips per week to Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport for a combined total annual subsidy of $5,997,626,” officials said.

Massena and Ogdensburg had been split over which federally subsidized airline company to support in recent weeks. Ogdensburg, currently served by Cape Air with flights to Albany and Boston, had chosen SkyWest, and Massena wanted to stay with its current carrier of Boutique Air, which also offered regional flights.

The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority and others across the region, including at Fort Drum, had lobbied for SkyWest, which offered to provide 50-passenger jets that fly directly to the larger transportation hubs of Chicago and Washington, D.C.

The SkyWest proposal, however, was contingent on being awarded a contract for both Massena and Ogdensburg airports.

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade A. Davis said adding SkyWest to the region is a game-changer for the evolution of transportation options in the North Country.

“The addition of SkyWest-United Express to Ogdensburg International Airport will be a great opportunity for the regional air traveler,” Mr. Davis said. “The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority would like to thank Congresswoman Stefanik, along with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the USDOT, for their hard work and dedication in support of North Country air travel.”

In making their selection announcement, U.S. transportation officials said SkyWest was chosen, in part, because it has earned “a solid reputation for providing excellent air service at all EAS communities it serves.”

“Given SkyWest’s proven track record for providing quality and reliable EAS, the department is confident that the airline will provide that same level of service at Massena and Ogdensburg that other SkyWest EAS communities receive,” the DOT said in a statement issued by Joel Szabat, Assistant Secretary of Aviation and International Affairs. “Next, SkyWest’s service at Massena and Ogdensburg would operate as United Express and, thus, would provide the communities’ passengers access to United’s extensive domestic and global network.”

The DOT report said SkyWest will provide 50-passenger regional jet service to two large hub airports, both of which are major connecting hubs for United.

“This service will provide Massena and Ogdensburg customers with seamless connections to the national air transportation system, as well as numerous international destinations,” according to the statement. “In addition, SkyWest included in its proposal a marketing plan and funds dedicated to promoting the new service.”

Federal transportation officials also said they expect Boutique Air and Cape Air to work with SkyWest at Massena and Ogdensburg, respectively, to make a smooth transition with no service hiatus.

“Before either carrier suspends service, the department expects them to notify all passengers holding reservations for travel after the suspension date, to assist those passengers,” the report said.

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