SkyWest may be forced to wait until Plattsburgh finds new airline

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 3:25 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - SkyWest is pulling its service from the Plattsburgh International Airport by April but it’s part of a federally funded contract. Our Kelly O’Brien found out what that means for the airport moving forward.

Skywest first landed at the Plattsburgh International Airport in August 2018.

“This flight to Washington was an excellent flight. It was booked up 80% all of the time,” Clinton County Legislator Bobby Hall said.

In its time at the airport, more than 89,000 passengers were on board the flights to and from Plattsburgh to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

“We are disappointed by the news but we also realize that the last two years with the COVID pandemic, it’s caused some unprecedented challenges for the airline industry,” said Chris Kreig of the Plattsburgh International Airport.

SkyWest cites the latest omicron surge and its impact on staffing as its reason to pull out of the airport.

“They are getting out of the Northeast as far as we have been told,” Hall said.

The Skywest flight was part of the federally subsidized Essential Air Service program through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

EAS allows smaller communities to access larger aircraft, and mid to large airports with regularly scheduled daily flights.

“We appreciate the partnership with SkyWest and their service to the community, and we look forward to future opportunities if they present themselves to work with them,” Kreig said.

SkyWest’s contract is up in July, but technically the airline can’t pull its flights until a new contract is signed if they want to stay eligible for the EAS program and the federal dollars that come with it.

“They would have to stay until July if we don’t have another carrier,” Hall explained. “Now, if we have another carrier, they can leave in the 90 days without any problem at all.”

Contracts are due to the U.S. DOT by Jan. 27 and country legislators say that decision will be made very quickly. But they are concerned about the role COVID will play.

“That’s a big concern,” Hall said. “We will definitely get one but the problem is to make sure we get the one that we want.”

Hall says the county predicts it will get contracts to Boston, which was the EAS flight before 2018, but he hopes to see other big name airports in the running.

“We would really like a flight to Philadelphia or preferably back to Washington. Washington would be the best one,” Hall said.

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SkyWest pulls flights from Plattsburgh International Airport

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