Plattsburgh airport officials hope Philadelphia flights take off by July

The view of Plattsburgh from a flight that departed from Plattsburgh International Airport. Photo: Emily Russell

New flights to Philadelphia from the Ogdensburg and Plattsburgh airports will ensure daily air service continues even after SkyWest terminates its flights to the Washington, DC, area.

In January, SkyWest announced plans to pull out of multiple markets due to COVID-related staffing challenges, but an order from the US Department of Transportation prevented the airline from doing so until a new carrier could take over.

Seeking options that would keep Plattsburgh International Airport hooked up to a larger hub, officials in Clinton County, which owns the airport, connected with Tennessee-based Contour Airlines. They submitted an application for more than $9 million to fund flights to Philadelphia, which the federal government approved last week. County Legislator Robert “Bobby” Hall, who chairs the legislature’s Airport Committee, says that’s fantastic news.

“We worked hard on this and there was a lot of people involved,” he says. “And it’s a real great thing for Plattsburgh.”

Hall says part of the appeal of working with Contour is its relationship with American Airlines. According to a press release from the county, interline ticketing and check-in agreements between Contour and American will allow travelers to book seamlessly from Plattsburgh to Philadelphia and beyond.

Airport Director Chris Kreig says he doesn’t anticipate there will be a gap in service between when the Washington flights end and the Philadelphia flights begin.

“I would expect that it’s going to be a smooth transition where SkyWest will fly their final flight on one day and then the next day Contour will pick up their service,” Kreig says.

While the SkyWest service was funded through the Essential Air Service program, money for the Philadelphia flights will come through the Alternate Essential Air Service program. Both allow the federal government to subsidize air service for communities with smaller populations.

Kreig says Clinton County will use the new funding to directly reimburse Contour for its flights to Philadelphia. Getting that process set up and ensuring Contour has all it needs to get started are the main steps that remain before takeoff. Officials hope that can occur on or around July 1 — Hall is even more optimistic.

“They believe it’s going to be July 1 — I believe it’ll be before then,” he says.

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