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I am delighted today to welcome Southwest Airlines to Albany. Here, Southwest will find a business community looking to grow and expand and Southwest will be a welcome partner in that expansion.  
The Capital Region has some of the highest airfares in the entire country. Exorbitant fares in cities like Albany and across the state have had a crippling effect on the Upstate economy. Southwest's affordable air service will give a tremendous boost to the Capital Region's economy.

The announcement that Southwest will begin flying from Albany in May is one that we have worked hard to make happen. When I was elected to the Senate, I pledged to do everything in my power and work with whoever I could to bring down the skyhigh airfares in Upstate New York. The Albany Airport Authority, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and many others worked hard on expansion efforts, creating the perfect environment for an airline like Southwest. They laid the perfect groundwork for me to lobby Southwest's CEO, Herb Kelleher, and pitch him on extending service to Albany.

The Capital Region can become a jobs center through increased transportation routes. I believe that Southwest's move will be an important step in our effort to grow the region's economy, and I look forward to continuing to work with everyone here today to build upon this success and make Albany's economic boom a reality.

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