Photo via NCPR
As finals week is upon us, Ogdensburg International Airport is offering a refreshing deal that will help students escape the snow-filled streets of St. Lawrence County. In November, the airport announced a two-for-one deal on all flights. This jaw dropping deal has been brought on by an underperformance of flights out of Ogdensburg.
In early October, Ogdensburg International Airport opened its doors after a months-long rehabilitation and expansion. The $26 million expansion brought the airport into the jet age, by lengthening the facility’s runway and creating more expansive passenger waiting areas. This project, which was heavily advocated for by the North Country’s congressional delegation, allowed Allegiant Airline to begin flights from St. Lawrence County to locations in Florida. While previously the airport was served by Cape Air, which flies 9-passenger planes to Albany and Boston, the airport now can accommodate planes of up to 150 passengers.
Prior to the opening of the rehabilitated airport, Ogdensburg estimated that roughly 64,000 passengers would pass through the airport during the first year. Although the airport aims to attract flyers from throughout the North Country, it also hopes to bring in Canadian flyers from Brockville and Ottawa, Ontario. Recently, however, the Ogdensburg Airport has recognized the need to boost its numbers, as flight attendance rates have not been as high as anticipated.
In order to qualify for enhanced federal funding, the air-port must attract at least 10,000 customers to both Allegiant and Cape Air flights. If they reach this quota, Ogdensburg will be allocated $1 million dollars from the federal government to support routine maintenance and equipment. If Ogdensburg does not reach this quota, they will receive only $150,000 from the Federal Aviation Authority.
To avoid this concerning fate, the airport launched its two-for-one flight deal. This promotion will apply to the first 500 flights that have been booked since mid-November. Flyers who qualify can submit their proof of travel to the airport authority and receive a full reimbursement for one of their flights.
One of the factors that may be contributing to Ogdensburg’s low rates of flyers is the stream of negative news stories that have recently emerged relating Allegiant Airlines. In recent weeks, Allegiant has had a series of mechanical failures on its fleet of MD-60 planes. The Tampa Bay Times reported that the airline had the highest rate of mid-flight breakdowns of any airline.
Although the problem-causing MD-60 planes are not used at Ogdensburg Airport, customers’ safety concerns have affected Allegiant’s reputation nationwide. Only time will tell if Ogdensburg can reach its goal of 10,000 passengers and receive much needed funding from the federal government.