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Chambers and airport join forces

Groups are looking to attract new flights and airlines

— “We want to reduce the trend,” he said. “We want more flights and more carriers. Strategically for tech centers and other companies, we need to get to the West Coast.”

Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Eagan said that eight months ago he had heard prices started creeping up at the airport, making it more difficult for the business traveler and the leisurely traveler. It was something he wanted to fix, and he felt the grant would be a great opportunity.

“The airport is an economic engine for this region,” Eagan said. “If you’re going to realize to true economic potential of the airport and want businesses to locate here, you need more services, you need more connections and you need more competitive pricing.”

Shimkus said the chambers wanted to raise a minimum of $500,000 to be competitive in the grant. There were 40 to 50 organizations and companies that made the pledge, which put them over the amount of their goal. Shimkus said it was all done in a four week period starting on July 5, which is when they were notified.

“You get a 30-day notice,” he said. “That’s a pretty short window.”

If the airport does get the grant, Myers said the desired new destinations are Houston, Denver and Dallas, where he said most of the high tech businesses are located out west. Myers added that they would also be good connecting flights for destinations such as Japan and the Caribbean. He also said the airport is looking to bring in American Airlines, JetBlue airlines or Frontier Airlines.

“The airport is an economic engine for this region,” Eagan said. “If you’re going to realize to true economic potential of the airport and want businesses to locate here, you need more services, you need more connections and you need more competitive pricing.”

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