Skies in the Southern Tier are about to become more friendly. Direct flights to Florida have been added at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport. YNN's Katie Husband tells us about the new flight plan.
BIG FLATS, N.Y. -- The Elmira Corning Regional Airport offers three airlines, but within that group, flight plans are taking off.
"Allegiant has been with us for several years now with direct flights to the Orlando Sanford Airport and those flights are continuing. They've been very, very successful on a Thursday and Sunday schedule," said Ann Crook, director of aviation at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport.
Thanks to last year's 8,000 foot expansion to the runway, Allegiant now has a direct flight from ELM to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in the Tampa Bay area.
"We're able to fly these long distant flights to Orlando and now to Clearwater, you know, with a full load and our load factor with Orlando is over 90 percent all the time," said Tom Santulli, Chemung County Executive.
Crook said she has been fighting for this direct flight opportunity for awhile because there are a lot of Twin Tier residents who have properties, or just like to vacation in the Tampa Bay area.
"The parking lot will be fuller, there will be a little bit longer lines in the restaurant and getting them in through security but we've shown we've been able to accommodate that," said Crook.
Leaders are confident this will bring in more passengers from surrounding counties.
"But a lot of people tell me, it's a much larger hassle in those bigger airports. They've been caught on the runways where they didn't get off because of the weather, but here it's easy parking, it's close to the terminal, we are, we're a small community this is a nice airport but relatively small in size," said Santulli.
The flights will be available starting November 1. For a limited time only, the company is offering a $99 roundtrip fare, but seats are limited. Tickets must be purchased by this Thursday for travel by April 29, 2014.