Ronkonkoma - (WALK) Nonstop flights to and from Boston are back at Long Island MacArthur Airport for the first time since 2008.
Islip officials and members of Long Island's business and tourism community welcomed Alaska-based PenAir to the facility in Ronkonkoma for a celebration early Thursday.
PenAir is a 58 year old company, and will offer twice-daily flights via 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft." We are excited to begin service into this market, and to bring our brand of customer service to Long Island, " said PenAir Chief Operating Officer David Hall. "Our plan is to start with two, daily round-trips and add additional flights as demand builds," said Hall.
Officials in Islip are eager to see expanded service at MacArthur, as the facility loast 46.4 percent of its commercial departures between 2007 and 2012, the sharpest drop-off of any small airport hub in the United States. Prior to Thursday, the airport had 25 flights per day, from two carriers, USAirways and Southwest Airlines.
The Town Board voted 5-0 to approve an agreement with PenAir in April. The deal takes advantage of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) incentive program, enabling airports to offer reduced rent and landing fees to new carriers, or to established carriers serving new destinations.
Under terms of the program, the Town of Islip would reportedly waive office and operational fees for two years; in return, PenAir would agree to stay at MacArthur for an additional two years.
Long Islanders would be able to board 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft at MacArthur for flights to Boston; then hop PenAir flights to other New England destinations, including Presque Isle, Maine, and (seasonally) to Bar Harbor, Maine, near Acadia National Park.
For information, including about flights and fares, visit http://www.penair.com
Photo: PenAir (Saab 340)