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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2006

Schumer Calls On FAA To Back New Flights To Boston Hub From North Country Cities – Current Pittsburgh Connection Is Too Limited

With Current Air Midwest Contract About to Expire, Schumer Calls on FAA to Approve New Proposal to Add More than a Dozen Flights to Boston Every Week

Schumer: There Are Enormous Growth Possibilities for these Communities, in the Sky and on the Ground

Senator has Led the Fight To Increase Funding for Essential Air Service and Expand Low Cost Air Service Throughout New York

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Department of Transportation to approve a proposal to add 18 new weekly flights between three North Country cities and Boston. Schumer, who has led the fight to preserve and expand low cost service in upstate New York, said the new flights from Watertown, Massena, and Ogdensburg, will provide an invaluable artery from these communities to Boston and the entire Northeast. The current Essential Air Service contract with Air Midwest only offers 3 daily flights to Pittsburgh and is set to expire February 28.

“When it comes to providing high quality, affordable air service in the north country, we need to be doing more, not more of the same,” Schumer said. “This is a golden opportunity to create new opportunities for travelers and businesses a like to expand operations and grow in the community. There is no question that affordable air service fosters economic development and new flights to Boston would certainly be a shot in the arm to the entire region.”

The Department of Transportation is set to decide next month on two competing proposals for the Essential Air Service contract servicing Watertown, Ogdensburg, and Massena. Big Sky Airlines is offering 18 flights per week between Boston and the north country, with non-stop flights between Watertown and Boston. Air Midwest, the current provider, is offering to maintain its current level of service of three flights a day to Pittsburgh.

Schumer said the flights to Boston would provide a huge boost for travelers and business a like because Boston Logan Airport offers far more connections to the national and international aviation network. In addition, with Boston being a more popular destination for travelers and businesses, Schumer said the new flights are sure to attract more passengers than the current flights to Pittsburgh.

In a personal letter to new Transportation Secretary Peters, Schumer said that “increased service, to an airport the people in the North Country want to travel to, is exactly what the EAS program was created to do. I wholly support Big Sky’s proposal for Watertown, Massena and Ogdensburg.”

Senator Schumer has led the fight to improve and expand Essential Air Service in New York and across the country. This year, Schumer led a bi-partisan coalition of Senators to successfully increase funding for Essential Air Service to $117 million, $10 million more than last year.

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