FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 22, 2006

Schumer Announces Big Sky Wins Contract To Provide New Boston Service From North Country Cities

With Current Air Midwest Contract About to Expire, Schumer Personally Lobbied DOT to Approve Community Supported Proposal to Add 18 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 N

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Department of Transportation approved 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.

“This is great news for residents and businesses of the North Country,” Schumer said. “These new flights will change the face of air travel in the North County and will open up countless new corridors for travel and businesses to come to the region. There is no question that affordable air service fosters economic development and new flights to Boston will certainly be a shot in the arm to the entire region.”

Schumer also said that Delta Airlines and Big Sky Airlines have signed a memorandum of understanding for Big Sky to operate Delta Connection carrier service beginning in the second quarter of 2007 out of Boston, further solidifying Delta's position as the carrier of choice for Boston customers. This will dramatically increase the number easy connections from the North Country to the domestic and international air network. This also mean that Big Sky customers will be able to take advantage of Delta customer service and frequent flier mile options.

Under the new DOT contract, Big Sky Airlines will offer 18 flights per week between Boston and the North Country, with non-stop flights between Watertown and Boston. Air Midwest, the current provider, who lost the big, had only offered 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 alike 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.

Schumer personally lobbied Transportation Secretary Peters last week in favor of the Big Sky proposal. In his letter dated December 14th, 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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