Albany, NY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that CommutAir will expand their fleet and operations at Albany International Airport with an additional 40 regional jets and more than 100 new jobs. The announcement, made possible by an expansion of CommutAir’s contract with United Airlines, comes less than a year after the company opened a new $4.2 million Regional Economic Development Council grant-funded maintenance facility.
“Albany International Airport is already critical to transportation and commerce in Upstate New York and CommutAir’s expansion further strengthens it through new jobs and improved passenger experience,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is yet another example of how smart transportation investments are essential to growing the Upstate economy and helping New York stay competitive.”
CommutAir operates throughout the northeast with more than 100 daily flights through United Airlines’ hubs in Newark and Washington-Dulles. It operates as “United Express” and uses the hangar at Albany International Airport as its principal maintenance base. The company currently offers six daily flights from Albany to Newark and Washington-Dulles, however with the introduction of the new jets this spring, it expects the number of daily Albany flights will increase, along with the length of its routes.
CommutAir Chairman and Co-Founders John Sullivan said, “We are pleased to be representing United Airlines (as United Express) on many routes in the northeast, and would like to commend the Governor’s Office – as well as the Albany County Airport Authority – for facilitating our decision to re-locate aircraft maintenance back to the Capital Region, by making this hangar space available on such short notice. In 2016, we will be launching a significant growth initiative and adding jet equipment to our fleet, which will increase our maintenance manpower requirement. So far, we have created about 80 technical and managerial positions here, and we expect that number to grow to 150-200.”
Construction of the new 17,000-square-foot CommutAir maintenance hangar was made possible by a $3.8 million Department of Transportation grant through the Regional Economic Development Council process. It has allowed the company to double the size of its facility and complete more rigorous maintenance checks on its fleet. The Albany County Airport Authority was responsible for the balance of project funding.
The new hangar enables CommutAir to receive the new jets and maintain them in Albany, along with its existing fleet of 37- and 50-seat turboprops. CommutAir also has leased space in the Airport’s former Eclipse Aviation hangar where it provides employee training. The airline estimates it will employ between 150 and 200 maintenance employees at Albany. At the end of 2015, CommutAir had already brought approximately 80 new jobs to the Albany International Airport with ongoing growth expected as the new jets begin service this spring.
Champlain Enterprises, Inc., operating as CommutAir, previously operated dozens of daily flights out of Albany and housed a maintenance facility at the airport. The company relocated to Cleveland, then decided to return to Albany International Airport in 2014 with flights and a maintenance operation.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, “Governor Cuomo knows the importance of modernizing the transportation network through transformative investments that create jobs and support the state’s growing economy. The new CommutAir facility is helping to do just that at Albany International Airport, expanding the workforce and providing more options for travelers.”
Albany County Airport Authority Chairman Rev. Kenneth Doyle said, “The CommutAir Maintenance facility and the jobs that it has created is an outstanding example of the positive impact Governor Cuomo’s economic development plan has had on the Albany International Airport and our community.”
Capital Region Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President & CEO of Albany Medical Center James J. Barba said, “The expansion of CommutAir is another great example of how the Capital Region Economic Development Council works to bring in jobs and bolster the economy. As a co-chair of the CREDC, making our airport more convenient and attractive to businesses and tourists is critical to our region’s success.”
Congressman Paul Tonko said, “Airports are a major engine of New York’s economy, and the more we modernize and invest in our hubs, the more attractive our communities become for businesses to move to, expand, and hire locally. I thank the team at Albany International as well as the Governor’s office for year after year of responsible management and growth, annually getting more than 2 million business and leisure passengers where they need to be.”
Senator Neil Breslin said, “Albany International Airport has proven to be a vital economic hub in the Capital Region. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Driscoll for partnering with CommutAir to help expand their fleet and operation. This expansion will not only create hundreds of jobs and build upon our many recent economic successes it will also enhance the commuter experience.”
Assemblyman Phil Steck said, “Investment in transportation infrastructure and job creation are priorities for the Capital Region and CommutAir’s new expansion here is helping boost our economy with the creation of more than 100 local jobs. This is another example of success for the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Council program, which I strongly support. I’m excited that this expansion will give travelers more options at Albany International Airport.”
Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “This expansion was made possible through the State’s Regional Council economic development model. It serves as a tangible result of the work done by the councils to redefine the planning process and tailor economic development plans to each region. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his vision, spirit of innovation and approach to building a new New York.”
Town of Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan said, “This expansion of CommutAir’s operations and service at Albany International Airport is great news for Colonie and the Capital Region. By providing more travel options and 100 new jobs, it will greatly strengthen our business environment as well as passenger service. I thank Governor Cuomo and the Albany Airport Authority for facilitating the expansion and CommutAir for its new investment in our region.”