COLONIE — One of the more popular regional air routes out of Albany will be resumed in February after a seven-year hiatus, when OneJet starts twice-daily round-trips to Buffalo.
The Pittsburgh-based carrier serving small- to mid-sized markets announced its plans Monday.
Flights will depart Albany International Airport for Buffalo at 8:20 a.m. and 6:10 p.m. weekdays and will depart Buffalo for Albany at 7 a.m. and 4:50 p.m. Ticket sales will start Jan. 9, and the first flights will be Feb. 1.
OneJet began flights between Albany and Pittsburgh over the summer.
Airport spokesman Doug Myers said the Albany-to-Buffalo route was last flown by USAirways, which had enough demand to use mid-sized jets. Nonetheless, it discontinued the service in 2010.
Demand has remained strong, Myers said, noting that 500 cars a day enter the Thruway in the Albany area and exit in the Buffalo area. The 280-mile journey takes more than four hours by car at legal speeds and will take 55 to 60 minutes via OneJet.
State officials applauded the route’s resumption Monday, noting it will help with revitalization of the Buffalo region. OneJet said the Buffalo-area economy has grown 6 percent since 2010 and has attracted new companies such as Tesla and Panasonic.
Myers said the logistics of winter travel in New York’s snow belt can be challenging, but if planes are flying, there will be a runway for them in Colonie.
“We keep this airport open 24/7. Very seldom do we close.”
When no arrivals or departures are imminent, Albany International Airport will shut a runway for 20 minutes to clear snow, but that’s a closure in name only, as part of the choreographed snow removal effort.
All totaled, with runways, roadways and parking areas for vehicles and planes, the Airport Authority must clear the equivalent of a one-lane road from Albany to Warrensburg and back.
OneJet will dedicate a plane to the Albany-Buffalo route, so the service will be less likely to be affected by cancellations or delays elsewhere up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
The service will mark the debut of OneJet Plus, which includes the conveniences of OneJet flights — TSA Precheck access for eligible travelers and valet baggage service — and adds enhanced amenities such as more interior room, 4G high-speed WiFi, streaming entertainment and complimentary beverages and snacks aboard larger 30-seat ERJ135 aircraft.
“Air service between Buffalo and Albany was presented as a mission-critical route for the upstate New York business community, and we’re pleased to offer this new nonstop service to meet that demand,” OneJet CEO Matthew Maguire said in a prepared statement. “Our expansion in Western New York also marks a significant milestone for us, as we introduce the OneJet Plus product to the market, providing an expanded platform to serve highly demanded routes throughout our network.”
In a prepared statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said: “OneJet is a brand new airline to the Queen City, one that caters to people who want to get their business done quickly and go back home to their families. We welcome the expanded service this company will provide and look forward to building upon it even further as we continue to move Western New York forward.”
Through its regional operating partners, OneJet offers more than 220 weekly flights to and from its operating bases in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and the cities of Albany, Cincinnati, Columbus, Hartford, Indianapolis, Louisville, Omaha, Providence and Richmond.
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