Allegiant Air announced Tuesday that the low-cost carrier will offer its first flights from Ogdensburg International Airport to destinations in Florida starting the first week of October.
At a press conference on the steps of City Hall, Allegiant Air spokeswoman Krysta L. Levy said the addition of Ogdensburg to a growing number of cities and communities serviced by the company is a positive development for the region, travelers and the airline itself.
Ms. Levy said the first flight from Ogdensburg to Orlando, Fla., will be on Oct. 5, and that the following day on Oct. 6 the carrier will again depart Ogdensburg International Airport for Fort Lauderdale.
“The worst-kept secret in aviation is Allegiant’s arrival in Ogdensburg,” Ms. Levy joked. “We are excited to announce two new non-stop flights out of the Ogdensburg International Airport. I am sure we will be back out here in October to throw a big party when those are ready to go.”
Ms. Levy said the announcement regarding flights from Ogdensburg is part of a larger new service push that includes 12 new routes. She said the flights from Ogdensburg to Florida starting in October represent two of those newly serviced areas.
The press conference was attended by representatives of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, including the authority’s executive director, Wade A. Davis.
Mr. Davis said Allegiant Air’s business model is ideal for Ogdensburg, Northern New York and the Ontario region of Canada.
“The new service is all about the passengers,” Mr. Davis said. “By having options for those who prefer nonstop flights and providing a cost-effective option for travel, we can get passengers in the air. Allegiant’s service will make it easier for more people to experience all a vacation has to offer.”
Likewise, Ogdensburg City Manager Sarah Purdy said she expected the airport expansion and the commitment of Allegiant Air to service the region to serve as a catalyst for economic growth.
“We are expecting that our friends from across the border may want to come in the night before if they’ve got an early flight out,” Ms. Purdy said. “We will be looking for that and what that does for increasing our need for accommodations and taking care of their needs.”
Ms. Purdy said she also expected people from other parts of the country to now be able to discover what Ogdensburg and the north country has to offer because they have better air access into the region.
The nonstop service from Ogdensburg announced by Allegiant Air will include the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Orlando Sanford International Airport. The new flights will be offered year-round and operate twice weekly. Fares are expected to be as low as $57, according to the company.
In a statement, Allegiant’s Chief Operating Officer Jude Bricker said the company was thrilled at the Ogdensburg expansion and the opportunities it brings to both travelers and the company.
“We’re thrilled to begin Allegiant service in Ogdensburg today,” Mr. Bricker said. “We have been looking forward to being able to offer Ogdensburg-area travelers nonstop flights to enjoy their favorite Florida vacation spots.”
In addition, Allegiant Air announced the launch of its “Christmas in July” sweepstakes to provide 12 lucky winners with seats on the inaugural flights from Ogdensburg to Fort Lauderdale and Ogdensburg to Orlando for themselves and a guest.
Local travelers who would like to enter to win can do so on Allegiant’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/Allegiant. The “Christmas in July” sweepstakes is part of Allegiant’s ongoing $1 Million Summer, a promotion in which the company is giving away $1 million in airfare throughout the summer.
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, also praised the airport expansion and the addition of Allegiant Air to the region. She said the multi-million dollar expansion at OGS has the potential to make Ogdensburg a transportation hub.
“This is an opportunity not just for north country residents and Canadians to get to Florida but for Floridians and snowbirds to get to the north country,” Mrs. Russell said. “This venture is putting Ogdensburg in position to be the transportation hub of the international region and a major player in local tourism efforts.”
As an example, she said from Ogdensburg, visitors have easy access the Thousand Islands, the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondack mountain region.
“Travelers coming to Ogdensburg will also be exposed to our historic, artistic and culturally diverse communities,” Mrs. Russell said.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, an early and staunch supporter of the $25 million Ogdensburg International Airport expansion, said he too believes Allegiant Air will play a pivotal role in transforming the region’s economy.
“In 2014, I urged the FAA to approve the runway expansion at the Ogdensburg Airport, knowing that Allegiant Air service would be a game changer for the regional economy, “Mr. Schumer said in an email statement. “I continued to work closely with OBPA officials to bust through bureaucratic delays and secure additional federal investment to prevent these flights from being grounded. Today’s announcement means the north country can finally reap the benefits.” Mr. Schumer predicted the flights will increase travel options for residents, and introduce more travelers to the north country’s restaurants, scenic beauty and tourist attractions.