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Issues and events that shape Long Island's economic and legislative landscape.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PenAir Takes Flight at Islip's Long Island MacArthur Airport

Ronkonkoma, NY – All levels of government gathered at Islip's Long Island MacArthur Airport today to celebrate the inaugural flight of PenAir, the Alaskan-based airline that is bringing back nonstop flights from Islip to Boston, an invaluable service that has been absent from the airport since 2008.

PenAir's first flight from MacArthur left at 8:40 a.m. from Gate B17, but not before Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, along with PenAir COO Dave Hall and Town Board members John Cochrane, Steve Flotteron, Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, and Anthony Senft cut the ribbon for the dozens of passengers, both business and leisure, to climb aboard the 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft.

 "It's an exciting day for the Town of Islip and Long Island Mac Arthur Airport.  PenAir has joined the MacArthur family and once again we will have direct nonstop flights to Boston.  We did not look for excuses... we looked for great partners like PenAir and joined forces to give our residents what they have asked for---more flights and more airlines." said Supervisor Croci.  "Before I took office, we had been witnessing a steady decline of airlines and flights. PenAir changes all that--- new leadership, new airlines and more good news to come for Long Island MacArthur Airport."

PenAir's Boston service from MacArthur Airport marks its first entry into the New York Metropolitan area.  Talks to bring the airline to Islip Town started more than a year ago, and became a reality in March, with the official announcement of the 58-year-old airline''s arrival to Long Island. 

Kevin S. Law, President & CEO of the Long Island Association said, "Long Island MacArthur Airport is an economic engine that that is vital to the growth of our business community and thus I commend Supervisor Croci and the Town Board for putting the airport on the right track with its partnership with PenAir."

PenAir officials saw a unique opportunity to provide service to Boston for Long Island travelers, who were forced to go to New York City airports to get flights.  Service from MacArthur will start with two nonstop flights a day, with the ability to add more as passenger demands grow.  A 2010 New York State Department of Transportation Statewide Airport Economic Impact Study identified LIMA as generating in excess of $575,000,000 of economic activity for the region.

"We are excited to begin service into this market and to bring our brand of customer service to Long Island", said PenAir Chief Operating Office Dave Hall. "We are an established 57-year old Alaskan company, and we are very proud of our levels of service, safety and reliability. Our 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft are a perfect fit for the market between MacArthur and our new hub at Boston."

"Our plan is to start with two daily round-trips and add additional flights as the demand builds", Hall continued. "We also operate flights out of Boston to Presque Isle, Maine, Plattsburgh, New York and seasonally to Bar Harbor, Maine. We are a proud codeshare partner of Alaska Airlines, making our fit in this market perfect for the business traveler as well as college students and pleasure travelers".

Town officials have been actively pursuing airlines to locate to MacArthur Airport, which were bolstered after a recent Stony Brook University study showed that places such as Boston, are primary destinations for business travelers.  In July 2012, Islip officials approved a new Air Service Development Incentive Program aimed at attracting new carriers and increasing service by incumbent carriers, by offering several options to airlines including waiving of landing fees and some rental charges, and a Town commitment to support the carriers marketing and advertising initiatives up to $100,000.  US Airways took advantage of the program when it successfully introduced new service to Reagan National Airport from MacArthur in March 2012.

Airport liaison and Councilman John Cochrane, Jr. summed up the celebration. "Today marks a big step forward in solidifying the future of MacArthur Airport---positive announcements are on the horizon as we welcome PenAir to the MacArthur family."