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A United Express CRJ-200 exiting the runway in Ogdensburg, N.Y. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

SkyWest Requests More Route Terminations

United — through its regional carrier United Express — ended service to 11 small cities around the country, not more than two weeks ago. Unfortunately, in the next 90-days, they will be adding two more destinations to that list both of which are located in northern New York State. St. George, Utah-based SkyWest Airlines operates many Essential Air Service (EAS) government-funded flights to communities across the country, but even that subsidy wasn’t enough to save the United’s service to the communities of Plattsburgh, N.Y. and Ogdensburg, N.Y.

Both communities receive twice-daily flights onboard SkyWest-operated Bombardier CRJ-200s to Washington Dulles. SkyWest sent a document to the Department of Transportation (DOT) with a letter of intent to stop services to each community and pull out of the active, ongoing EAS contract.

The current term EAS contract in Plattsburgh is set to expire in roughly six months, on June 30, whereas the EAS contract in Ogdensburg still has over two years to go with that one expiring on March 31, 2024. The DOT could theoretically deny the intent to leave. It isn’t a 100 percent guarantee, and the agency could tell the current carrier to stay until the contract expires. However, as long as another carrier steps up to fill the void with their own contract, then there is a good chance the airline will not be serving either when summer rolls around.

The terminal building in Ogdensburg, N.Y. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

North Country Public Radio cites the loss of the airline, as a response to the closed Canadian border causing a loss of 2/3 of the passengers since the pandemic started. Allegiant Air — who served Ogdensburg and catered primarily to Canadian traffic — ceased services in 2020 and has made no plans to return to the airport.  According to NNY360, a news station in Northern New York, SkyWest was “navigating staffing shortages generated by a surge in Covid-19”, and that was the primary reason for leaving the Ogdensburg, N.Y.

The terminal in Plattsburgh, N.Y. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

On the other side of the state in Plattsburgh, N.Y., the Press-Republican has a quote from the chairman of the county’s airport committee, Bobby Hall, who said, “They didn’t want to leave because they were doing very well here, but they just don’t have the staff, so they are pulling out of the Northeast”. Spirit Airlines pulled out of Plattsburgh, N.Y. in the early months of the pandemic, but Allegiant does offer semi-daily flights to destinations in Florida.

As the bidding process hasn’t begun yet for either city, there is no telling what airlines will bid for it or who might win. Flights and schedules are subject to change.

 

Author

  • Joey Gerardi

    Joe has always been interested in planes, for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Central New York during the early 2000s when US Airways Express turboprops ruled the skies. Being from a non-aviation family made it harder for him to be around planes and would only spend about three hours a month at the airport. He was so excited when he could drive by himself and the first thing he did with the license was get ice cream and go plane spotting for the entire day. When he has the time (and money) he likes to take spotting trips to any location worth a visit. He’s currently enrolled at Western Michigan University earning a degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

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