01.29.20

SCHUMER URGES AIRLINES TO CONSIDER BRAND NEW ROUTE FROM BUFFALO NIAGARA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO SAN FRANCISCO; SENATOR SAYS NEW JETBLUE OR UNITED ROUTE WOULD LINK BUFFALO’S EXPANDING TECH SECTOR WITH SILICON VALLEY, PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH & CREATE GOOD-PAYING JOBS

As A Longtime Recruiter Of Airlines To Upstate NY, Senator Says There Is A Clear Need For Northern CA Flights To & From WNY 

New Low-Cost Flights To SF Would Be A Win-Win-Win For Airlines, Travelers And Businesses, & WNY Economy

Schumer To Airlines: New San Francisco Routes Should Take Flight In Buffalo!

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged JetBlue Airlines and United Airlines to enhance and expand their presence in Upstate New York by establishing direct flights from Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) to the San Francisco Bay Area. Schumer highlighted his long history of working with airlines to bring service to Upstate New York and the success of those routes as proof that a new Buffalo to San Francisco flight could be a win-win. Schumer said the additional option would boost competition, attract-and-retain top-tier talent and workers, increase the availability of low-cost flights, and enhance connectivity to the West Coast for travelers and businesses out of Western New York. Specifically, Schumer called on the airlines to engage with partners in the Buffalo region to explore this opportunity for its potential to benefit both their bottom lines and Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

“JetBlue and United have long, strong track records of providing air service to Upstate New York, and it is only fitting that they should continue to build on that strong presence by establishing a new Buffalo-to-San Francisco route. A new flight from Buffalo to the Bay Area would be a win-win-win for the airlines, which can expand their brand and customer base in Upstate New York, for the Western New York economy, and for Western New York families and businesses who would greatly benefit from having more flight options,” said Senator Schumer. “Buffalo’s tech sector is in the midst of serious expansion, and a direct flight to Silicon Valley would only kick that industry growth into a higher gear, helping to create good-paying jobs and further establish Buffalo as a new tech hub for the nation. I’ve always strived to bring affordable air service to Upstate New York because it can boost our local economies and connect our state with the rest of the world, and I will continue fighting to ensure New York air travelers have as many low-cost options as possible.”

“We are grateful for Senator Schumer’s work to help further enhance service at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Adding direct flights to the San Francisco Bay area would build wonderfully on the tremendous success we have had with nonstop flights to LAX, which was made possible back in 2016, thanks to Senator Schumer’s early advocacy. Growth at our airport is a major benefit to our business community, visitors, and the thousands of Canadian customers who use BNIA each month. We are all grateful for Senator Schumer’s continued advocacy on behalf of BNIA and the entire Buffalo Niagara Region,” said Kim Minkel, Executive Director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.
  
“The Buffalo Niagara Partnership knows that air service development is economic development.  We are pleased to be working alongside Senator Schumer and the NFTA to help secure direct service from Buffalo to the Bay Area.  Establishing this non-stop route is important to several established employers in Buffalo Niagara and will be a significant boost to our region’s burgeoning tech sector,” said Dottie Gallagher, President and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “The level of direct service out of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is a calling card for the region and the ability to add direct service to the Bay Area will be an important next step in making our community place where businesses can easily connect with their customers and clients throughout the country.”

Schumer explained that currently, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) are pursuing the development of non-stop air service from Buffalo to the San Francisco Bay Area. This service, Schumer argued, would not only benefit current customers traveling to and from Northern California, but would also serve the growing technology sector in Buffalo. Schumer cited M&T Bank’s commitment to filling jobs at their new technology hub in Seneca One Tower and Tesla’s state-mandated staffing levels as demonstrative of the need for a direct line to America’s tech capital.

Additionally, Schumer said that the volume of Canadian customers choosing to fly out of Buffalo rather than Toronto for their US-bound final destinations has continued to grow in the last few years. Toronto Pearson Airport is the only Southern Ontario airport with non-stop service to the Bay Area, a major hub for flights to Hawaii, Asia, and Eastern Europe. However, Schumer explained, it has high fares and taxes that dissuade both American and Canadian travelers. Schumer maintained that Buffalo has had extreme success in attracting Canadians to use Buffalo for non-stop BUF-LAX flights. Since JetBlue service began in 2016, the airline’s market share of the traffic between the two airports grew 725%. Schumer argued that JetBlue’s and United’s significant presence in both the Buffalo and San Francisco areas and their market brand power would be significant assets to maximize an opportunity for non-stop service from Buffalo.

Schumer has been instrumental in bringing affordable and frequent air service to Western New York and to all of Upstate New York.  At Schumer’s urging, JetBlue began service to Rochester in early 2000 with non-stop flights to New York’s JFK airport. Last year, Schumer announced that JetBlue had heeded his request, and added a direct flight from Greater Rochester International Airport to Boston Logan Airport. Schumer has long fought to bring new airlines and routes to Upstate New York cities, including helping to bring Southwest to Albany and JetBlue to Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse and Rochester.

Copies of Schumer’s letters to United and JetBlue appear below.

Dear Mr. Munoz:

I write to you today regarding the efforts for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) to secure direct, non-stop air service to the San Francisco Bay Area. I ask that your company engage with partners in the Buffalo region to explore this opportunity for its potential to benefit both United and the airport.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority are pursuing the development of non-stop air service from BUF to the San Francisco Bay Area. This service will not only benefit current customers traveling to and from this California region but will also serve the growing technology sector which has operations in Buffalo and a need for reliable and direct service to the Bay Area.

In addition, the volume of Canadian customers choosing to fly out of BUF rather than Toronto for their US-bound final destinations has only continued to grow in the past few years. Toronto Pearson Airport is the only Southern Ontario airport with non-stop service to the Bay Area; however, it has high fares and taxes. United’s significant presence in both the Buffalo and San Francisco areas and its market brand power would be an asset to maximize an opportunity for non-stop service from Buffalo.

I ask that the appropriate members of your staff be in touch with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and notify my staff when you do reach out directly. As the CEO of United, you know your company best, but I believe this presents a beneficial opportunity for both the Buffalo airport and for United. Should you come to the same conclusion, know that I stand ready to help United in any way that I can.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter. Please do not hesitate to follow-up with me or my staff.

Sincerely,

Dear Mr. Hayes:

I write to you today regarding the efforts for the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) to secure direct, non-stop air service to the San Francisco Bay Area. I ask that your company engage with partners in the Buffalo region to explore this opportunity for its potential to benefit both JetBlue and the airport.

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority are pursuing the development of non-stop air service from BUF to the San Francisco Bay Area. This service will not only benefit current customers traveling to and from this California region but will also serve the growing technology sector which has operations in Buffalo and a need for reliable and direct service to the Bay Area.

In addition, the volume of Canadian customers choosing to fly out of BUF rather than Toronto for their US-bound final destinations has only continued to grow in the past few years. As you know, JetBlue has been extremely successful in attracting Canadians to use BUF for non-stop BUF-LAX flights; since service began on June 16, 2016, JetBlue's market share of the traffic between these airports grew 725%. Toronto Pearson Airport is the only Southern Ontario airport with non-stop service to the Bay Area; however, it has high fares and taxes. JetBlue’s significant presence in both the Buffalo and San Francisco areas and its market brand power would be an asset to maximize an opportunity for non-stop service from Buffalo.

I ask that the appropriate members of your staff be in touch with us to facilitate an introduction with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. As the CEO of JetBlue, you know your company best, but I believe this presents a beneficial opportunity for both the Buffalo airport and for JetBlue. Should you come to the same conclusion, know that I stand ready to help JetBlue in any way that I can, as I have in the past. I thank you and JetBlue Airways for your continued partnership with my office.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding this matter. Please do not hesitate to follow-up with me or my staff.

Sincerely,

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