A deal between Delta Air Lines and U.S. Airways will end all U.S. Airways flights from Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. The flights will cease starting March 24, according to Robert Nicholas, airport manager of Tompkins County Regional Airport.
Service to LaGuardia Airport from Ithaca is currently provided three times a day by U.S. Airways, with flights in the morning, afternoon and early evening.
At airports subject to capacity control such as LaGuardia, each “slot” an airline holds allows it one takeoff or landing. A “slot pair” gives an airline the rights to a round-trip flight, according to a joint press release by Delta and U.S. Airways.
After both airlines struck a deal in December, Delta acquired 132 slot pairs from U.S. Airways, in exchange for 42 slots pairs at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., and rights for daily flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2015.
Delta intends to make LaGuardia a “domestic hub” and will invest $100 million to upgrade its station in LaGuardia, adding more than 100 flights and 29 new destinations to the airline. While the airline will be adding passenger service from LGA to several upstate New York cities, including Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, it will no longer offer flights from Ithaca to New York City, according to the company’s press release.
“Regarding the students at Cornell, [Delta] doesn’t think it’s worth having daily flights to LaGuardia,” Nicholas wrote in an email. “In the past several years, Cornell has had an excellent bus ser-vice to the Weill Medical School in New York City, so flying has been affected.”
One Cornell student disagreed with Nicholas, saying there is a demand for flight service between Ithaca and New York City.
“Every flight I've been on from Ithaca to LaGuardia has been full, especially since they reduced the frequency of service over the past few years,” Susie Lai grad said. “I sometimes fly in off-peak days, and those flights have all been pretty full as well.”
Although it will no longer fly to Ithaca, U.S. Airways will still operate flights to LaGuardia, but only through connections at Charlotte, N.C.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Phoenix, Ariz. Those travelling to Ithaca through LaGuardia will have to first fly to Newark Liberty International Airport and then take a train, or bus. Aly Thompson ’13 said that the changes will not inconvenience her when she travels home to Kansas.
“I prefer to fly into Newark because the airport is much easier to navigate,” Thompson said.
Nicholas said that students can still travel to New York City through other means.
“There are still options, especially for the international travelers,” said Nicholas. Cornell, for instance, offers bus services to and from Syracuse Hancock International Airport around University breaks, Nicholas said.
Though it will halt flight service from Tompkins County Regional Airport, U.S. Airways has announced non-stop flights from Philadelphia and other core hubs to Washington D.C., as well as adding 230 new daily flights from Reagan International Airport, according to its press release.