Press-Republican

Business

December 12, 2012

Support voiced for airport expansion plan

PLATTSBURGH — An informational open house for the Plattsburgh International Airport Master Plan attracted a small number of people, all supportive of the planned expansion. 

The session Monday night did not include a formal presentation of the plan but was more of a self-guided viewing of the map of the project and related information.

Consultant C&S Company was looking for input from the public before the plan heads to the Federal Aviation Administration for final approval, said Aileen Maguire, a representative for C&S.

BUSINESS BOOST

Most of the members of the public who attended already had an interest in the airport, such as Russell Lawliss, the general manager of Sheltair, which provides general aviation services to Allegiant, Spirit Airlines and most chartered flights that land at the airport.

Lawliss had previous input on the plan on the committee level but attended the session to see how the different components would blend together.

Expansion of existing flights would add to the demand for Sheltair services.

“We are poised to handle more business,” Lawliss said.

Peter Hekkema, an employee for the Hertz location at the airport, is also hopeful about what the expansion would bring.

“I think it’s a good plan, and it will be a good economic boost to the community,” he said. “Hopefully, it will bring more jobs to the area and possibly some additional airlines.”

AMENITIES NEEDED

Hekkema stressed the need for a hotel and restaurants near the airport in order to keep people in the area spending money a bit longer.

In talking with many of the Canadians who utilize the airport, he said, they are always asking if there is a bar/restaurant either in the airport or nearby. He believes it is important to maintain Canadian support of the airport.

“Flying out of Montreal is a hassle,” Hekkema said. “I think that’s why we have the Canadian traffic that we do. I think when it’s built (the expansion), more airlines will come.”

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