American Airlines, one of Elmira-Corning Regional Airport’s three airlines, is planning to stop service in February.
The news comes just weeks after Governor Cuomo awarded Elmira-Corning Regional Airport a $40 million grant to modernize the facilities.
18 News spoke with some American Airlines passengers at the airport to see how this may affect future travel plans.
“I’ve been using American Airlines in this airport for years,” passenger Hari Sharma said. “So we’re going to miss American Airlines if they’re not going to continue services here.”
Elmira-Corning is not the only airport getting the cut from American. Sources said the Greater Binghamton Airport will also cease service on Feb. 16, 2017.
“I fly about 50,000 miles a year on American,” passenger Tonya Skeen said. “So if they discontinue service here then I will probably have to fly into Syracuse and drive two hours.”
Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli said American Airlines has had its issues.
“They’ve been an airline that has had a hard time putting flight crews together, hard time finding planes,” Santulli said.
As for Gov. Cuomo’s $40 million grant, Santulli believes Elmira-Corning is still the most competitive airport in the Southern Tier. He said Elmira-Corning generates about 50% of the business between the three regional airports. And Elmira-Corning is unique in its ability to expand, unlike Binghamton and Ithaca.
“In the Southern Tier we’re going to be the primary airport,” Santulli said. “We’re the only one who’s got an interstate, we’re the only one that has an inner change within the airport, and we’re the only one that has an 8,000 foot runway. The other two airports are not capable of that.”
The decision to end service will likely hurt the Greater Binghamton Airport as American is its main carrier.
Stay with 18 News as this story develops.