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A Cape Air flight preparing for takeoff at Adirondack Regional Airport. Photo: Brian Mann
A Cape Air flight preparing for takeoff at Adirondack Regional Airport. Photo: Brian Mann

No Cape Air flights from Lake Clear to White Plains, for now

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Correction: the title and opening paragraph of this story have been changed to reflect the fact that Cape Air is still exploring ways to fly passengers to New York City.

Cape Air will continue flying passengers between Boston's Logan International Airport and the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear; but it won't add flights to White Plains, NY -- at least not yet.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded the Hyannis, Mass.-based airline a four-year, $1.8 million annual subsidy. The money will allow the company to continue providing three daily round-trip flights between Boston and Lake Clear.

Elected officials, a group of local residents and the major employers in the Tri-Lakes region had pushed for additional flights between Lake Clear and White Plains, but DOT rejected that proposal.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

Cape Air has been the Lake Clear airport's commercial passenger service airline since February of 2008. It was the only company to submit a bid for the airport's federal Essential Air Service subsidy.

In addition to continuing its service to Boston, Cape Air had submitted a separate proposal that would have provided one additional daily round trip to the Westchester County Airport in White Plains. For this option, the company wanted a roughly $2.6 million subsidy.

Congressman Bill Owens, state Sen. Betty Little and local employers including Adirondack Medical Center and Paul Smith's College had backed the White Plains service, which many saw as a way to connect the region to the New York City market for both business and leisure travelers.

DOT said the community's comments were given "significant weight," but it said adding the White Plains service made the contract too expensive. The agency said the purpose of the EAS program is to "connect communities to the national air transportation system that otherwise would not have service" and that the current service to Boston meets the community's needs.

Andrew Bonney, Cape Air's vice president for planning, said his company is pleased to be picked to continue providing service at Adirondack Regional.

Asked about not getting the White Plains option, Bonney said he understands the DOT's rationale, but he said he's also aware of the community's desire to get to New York City.

"We believe in that market so we're taking a good, hard look right now at what we could do, possibly on a seasonal basis, to provide that service outside the auspices of the Essential Air Service program," Bonney said.

Adirondack Regional Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said he wasn't surprised the White Plains option wasn't picked.

"They kind of told us it was a long shot to begin with, but because of the public interest in it, we figured we would continue to pursue it," he said. "We have had a good experience with Cape Air. They've had good numbers in and out of here, and they're easy to work with."

The number of passengers flying to and from the Lake Clear airport has increased substantially since Cape Air took over service at the facility, from 8,100 in 2008 to nearly 12,000 last year.

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