by Susan Mikula Campbell
Not that long ago, people passing the Niagara Falls International Airport on Niagara Falls Boulevard were lucky if they saw a handful of cars in the parking lot.
With the advent of Direct Air and, last month, Vision Airlines, providing low-cost fares to warmer climes, things sure have changed. The lot in front of the new terminal is usually full, with overflow parking going to the lot in front of the old terminal. A third overflow lot across the street was added after Thanksgiving and saw use during the Christmas holidays. Plus, parking, which up to this month was free, now has a cost to it.
Things will be even busier at the airport as its third low-cost airline, Spirit Airlines, sends out its first flight at 1:55 a.m. Jan. 28.
Parking is now $5 per day or $25 per week. Parking for drivers who are picking up or dropping off passengers is still free for up to two hours.
C. Douglas Hartmayer, NFTA spokesman, said the fee is considerably less than at the Buffalo airport "and probably considerably less than most airports across the country."
The new overflow lot more than doubled parking capacity with space for 600 vehicles and NFTA has room on the 9.6-acre parcel to make that a 900-car lot when it becomes needed, Hartmayer said. The lot is fenced, lighted, has security provided by NFTA police and has four shelters where passengers can wait for a shuttle bus to take them to the terminal. The attendant on duty (from Standard Parking of Buffalo) calls for the shuttle when the lot is in use, he said, and that should be happening more often, especially when spring break starts.