SARANAC LAKE - Cape Air has announced plans to provide a daily round-trip flight between the Westchester County Airport in White Plains and Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear this summer.
The service, set to take off June 26 and run Tuesday through Sunday, is designed to give local travelers access to the New York City market. Once they arrive at the White Plains airport, passengers will have the option of taking Cape Air's ground transportation to Midtown Manhattan.
"Our decision to offer New York service is based solely on all the customer feedback we received," airline President Linda Markham said in a press release. "There has been an overwhelming request for service to New York from both the public and private sectors in the Saranac Lake region. We are thrilled our operation has been able to meet the desires of our customers - it's a win-win for both of us."
A Cape Air worker unloads luggage from one of the airline's nine-seat Cessna 402 airplanes from Boston at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear in April 2012.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
At Adirondack Regional Airport, Cape Air currently provides three round-trips a day to and from Boston's Logan International Airport on nine-seat Cessna 402 planes. Earlier this year, when Cape Air applied to renew its federal Essential Air Service subsidy to serve this airport, it sought extra funds to add a daily round-trip to White Plains. This was not granted, but Cape Air's subsidy was renewed and increased substantially.
In recent years Cape Air has provided a fourth daily round-trip to and from Boston in summertime, without a subsidy, to meet demand. Now it will make that fourth flight go to White Plains instead.
"I think it's great, and I'm very interested to see it works out," Adirondack Regional Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch told the Enterprise Wednesday. He acknowledged a concern that "It's going to take away some of the seats out of Boston. They're not full every flight in the summer." However, he is supportive.
"I hope the seats fill up and force Cape Air to extend this service year round," he said in the press release.
In March, the Massachusetts-based airline signed a one-year lease for a downtown store which will be a ticket agency and regional call center. It expects to soon have new employees working there seven days a week, welcoming walk-ins and taking calls from customers all over the 518 area code.
Cape Air has been the airline here since February 2008. In those six years, the number of passengers flying to and from Lake Clear has increased substantially, from 8,119 in 2008 to 11,810 in 2012.
Look for more on this story in Thursday's Enterprise.