December 1, 2000

Continental Airlines to Land in Ithaca

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Starting this holiday season, students will have more options when they fly from Tompkins County Airport, as the Continental Connection adds services to the Ithaca area. The airline celebrated the start of the new routes yesterday with a reception hosted by the airport.

The flights, which begin tomorrow, “will include nine flights a day to Boston, Elmira and Washington D.C./Dulles airports,” according to Continental Connections representative Susan Gorski.

Commutair, an affiliate company of Continental Airlines based in Plattsburg, N.Y., runs Continental Connections. President and CEO of Commutair, Andrew Price, accompanied the first Continental Connection flight as it flew from Elmira to Ithaca late yesterday afternoon.

“We have experience in the New York area,” Price said about the decision to start flights to Ithaca. “We felt we could make a go of it.”

As Continental Connection settles into Tompkins County Airport, airport manager Robert Nicholas says he is looking forward to the expansion of the airline’s flights and the competition it will create.

“We’re hoping that as they [Continental Connections] becomes established here, we can look at service to other areas,” Nicholas said, noting Cleveland and Newark as two possible future destinations. “It is an opportunity we’ll press for in the future.”

U.S. Airways, the only airline currently serving Tompkins County Airport, will face competition from the new airline. Nicholas noted that the main competition between the airlines will be on the nonstop flight to Boston because, “with first-time competition, people start to pay attention to the prices of the tickets.”

While Cornell students are traveling for the holidays, Continental Connections will be in the first weeks of its service, adding its flights from Ithaca to the 300 other daily Continental Connections flights in 22 cities.

Like Price, Nicholas says he is confident that there is a place for Continental Connections in the future of Tompkins County Airport. “We know there’s a guaranteed market,” he said.

Archived article by Kate Cooper