PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh International Airport has been awarded a $200,000 grant to market PenAir service between Plattsburgh and Boston.
U.S. Rep. Bill Owens and North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas announced the funding, allocated through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Small Community Air Service Development Program.
The grant will be spent during the next two years on projects that market PenAir’s daily flights between Plattsburgh and Boston in foreign media markets, including Montreal.
Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that a stronger Canadian dollar and higher air-travel taxes in Canada have helped airports like Plattsburgh International lure more foreign travelers over the border.
According to the article, 80 to 85 percent of passengers on flights departing Plattsburgh International are Canadian.
Owens said the investment in Plattsburgh International Airport will help draw more Canadian travelers across the border to fly.
“Investments in cross-border trade and travel continue to be a crucial piece of the region’s economic health,” he said in a press release.
“This grant will also help provide travelers with a smoother experience, making Plattsburgh an even more appealing travel option for Americans and our Canadian neighbors.”
CASE FOR MORE ROUTES
North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas welcomed the funding.
“This is an important opportunity to further develop enplanements at Plattsburgh and to keep building our case for additional routes and services in the future. We know we can draw more passengers to our Boston service, especially from Montreal, but need the marketing resources to make that happen,” he said.
“We are ready to move forward with our partners at PenAir on a two-year marketing plan, and we want to thank Congressman Owens and Senators (Charles) Schumer and (Kirsten) Gillibrand for their very active support going back to our visit with each of them in Washington last May.”
LINKS TO AIRLINES
In addition to funding international marketing, the grant will help the airport and PenAir build relationships with major airlines that have connecting flights in Boston, the release said. That would streamline ticketing and luggage-handling operations between PenAir and the airlines carrying passengers to their final destinations.
The grant comes on the heels of two recent government investments in the airport. It received more than $2.4 million in September to expand its passenger terminal so it could accommodate the influx in international passengers and $2.5 million for air and wastewater improvements in August.