SARANAC LAKE - A coalition of North Country airports and their respective chambers are working on a cooperative marketing effort to bring local awareness of commercial air service.
The North Country Airport Alliance encompasses airport and chamber representatives from St Lawrence County, Massena, Ogdensburg, Saranac Lake, and Watertown.
"The Chambers, in partnership with Franklin County Tourism, designed an advertising campaign to promote commercial air services provided by Cape Air in our respective communities to our residents," said Keith Wells, vice president of the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the North Country Airport Alliance.
The advertising campaign will consist of print advertising in local newspapers and university publications, as well as radio, television and Internet. It is further planned to work with our Canadian Chambers to build this awareness profile.
A total of $8,000 has been committed by the airports and $2,000 from the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. The $10,000 is being matched by Cape Air who offers services in the regions, for a total media campaign of $20,000.
"The goal of the campaign is to ensure our local residents are aware they can fly to Albany from Watertown, Massena and Ogdensburg and to Boston from the Tri-Lakes region of Tupper Lake, Saranac Lakeand Lake Placid," said Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Sylvie Nelson.
"We also will develop some broader exposure with our alliance connections to the Albany Airport and the Albany Market. This is essentially a 'fly-through' market for those that wish to get to the North Country and now have an air service connection. Of course, the Tri-Lakes connection with Boston opens up the world for travels to and from our region."
Already, in the first 10 months of Cape Air's operations at the Adirondack Regional Airport ridership increased from an annual average of 3,000 to 8,000 in 10 months. Since September, when Cape Air began operations in the Massena, Ogdensburg and Watertown airports, ridership has steadily increased as well.
According to Town of Harrietstown supervisor Larry Miller, those numbers are approaching the records set during the 1980 Olympics.
"By increasing our ridership to 10,000 annually, we will automatically receive $1 million from the FAA to upgrade and update the Adirondack Regional Airport facility," said Ross Dubarry, Adirondack Regional Airport manager.
"Our region's airports are crucial players in regional economic development," Nelson added. "In the Tri-Lakes alone, the economic impact is approximately $15 million annually and that is significant in a rural area such as ours."
The campaign is slated to run from mid-February to mid-March 2009.
For more information, contact the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at 891-1990 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org