Cape Air Among Three Airlines in the Running to be Massena's Essential Air Service

Nov. 23, 2020

Nov. 20—MASSENA — An airline that served as Massena's Essential Air Service provider for eight years hopes to win the contract again following a presentation to the Massena Town Council on Monday.

Cape Air had served the Massena community until 2017, when the Essential Air Service contract was awarded to Boutique Air. Cape Air made another bid in 2018 when it was time for the Massena Town Council to make its choice for an EAS provider starting in 2019. But the contract was awarded again to Boutique Air.

Andrew Bonney, Cape Air's senior vice president of planning, said Cape Air is looking forward to the opportunity to serve Massena and Ogdensburg again.

"When the request for proposals came out, we were really excited to take another look at serving Massena and Ogdensburg. Serving the north country is a really good fit for Cape Air. We have a passion for small community air service," he said.

Passengers flying on Cape Air would find a different aircraft than what was previously used.

"The biggest enhancement is we've taken delivery of our new fleet of aircraft," Mr. Bonney said.

The Tecnam P2012 is about 30% larger than the Cessna 402 Cape Air had flown. The plane has been built to Cape Air's specifications based on the airline's flying history. There's room for nine passengers and two pilots.

"I'm 6 feet tall and I can very comfortably cross my legs in any row," he said.

The plane was intentionally designed with two engines to provide more safety.

"The single most important feature is about safety. It's designed to fly on one of the engines," Mr. Bonney said.

"He said he was disappointed that, because of COVID-19 restrictions, they were not able to bring one of their new planes to Massena for the community to see on Monday.

"We're disappointed not to have an event at the airport where we can show off the airplane. They're operating and doing a great job for us in our Essential Air Service communities. Passengers love the airplane," he said.

Mr. Bonney said, based on community feedback, they are proposing destinations that travelers have been asked for — Albany International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport.

He said a number of passengers wanted flights to Albany for business and personal travel, and there was also an interest in getting to New York City. "Service to Boston has done really well. Boston has developed into a terrific global gateway," he said.

Cape Air has ticketing and baggage agreements with several major carriers and regional airlines, including American, United, Alaska, Delta, Hawaiian and others. If passengers book their entire trip together on a single itinerary, their luggage will be checked through from the originating carrier to their final destination.

In addition to providing air service, Mr. Bonney said Cape Air would also spent $85,000 per year per airport — a total of $170,000 between Massena and Ogdensburg — working in partnership in each community for marketing.

Cape Air is one of three airlines that will be presenting to the Massena Town Council starting at 4 p.m. Monday. Also scheduled to make presentations are Boutique Air and Southern Airways Express. The meeting will be held virtually on the town's Facebook page, and there will be an opportunity for community comments.

Boutique Air currently serves as the town's Essential Air Service provider. It began service at the Massena International Airport in mid-April 2017 when it took over as the town's EAS provider at an annual subsidy of $2.9 million. It was awarded the Essential Air Service contract again in March 2019. That contract runs from April 1, 2019, through March 21, 2021, with a first-year annual subsidy of $3.1 million and a second-year annual subsidy of $3.2 million.

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