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Hochul and FAA acting administrator discuss economic impact of Niagara Falls International Airport, FAA funding for runway renovation

by jmaloni
Mon, Apr 16th 2012 01:35 pm

Regional stakeholders participate in roundtable discussion on economic vitality of airport and nearly $12 million in federal funding coming to NFIA

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul welcomed Federal Aviation Administration Acting Administrator Michael Huerta Friday to the Niagara Falls International Airport where, after holding a roundtable discussion with regional stakeholders and economic development leaders, the two toured the airport and discussed new federal investments totaling $11.7 million being brought to the NFIA.

"The FAA's investment in the main runway is critical not only for the continued success of the Niagara Falls International Airport, but also for the growth of the Western New York economy," Hochul said.  "With the number of travelers visiting Niagara Falls expected to double to 16 million over the next 10 years, the airport will continue to serve as an economic catalyst for the region."

"The FAA funding to help rehabilitate runway 10L/28R ensures that Niagara Falls International Airport will continue to play a vital role in the aviation system," said FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta.  "We applaud the Niagara Falls Transportation Authority for its commitment to aviation and the regional economy."  

"The long-term viability of the NFIA's main runway is critical to the daily commercial operation of the airport and that of the military, which depend on its structural integrity," said Henry M. Sloma, acting chairman of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.  "Congresswoman Hochul and the FAA's much appreciated assistance in obtaining these funds allows the construction to move forward at an accelerated pace."

The FAA's funding will be used for rehabilitation of the main runway at the NFIA.  The upgraded runway is expected to increase passenger activity and could potentially bring cargo services to the airport.  Allegiant Air has already announced expansion of its service at NFIA to include additional routes to Fort Lauderdale and Punta Gorda, Fla.

Since opening a state-of-the-art passenger terminal in 2009, the NFIA's annual passenger count has increased from 1,000 to nearly 200,000, for passengers getting on and off aircrafts, from a market of 9.6 million people between Toronto and Erie, Pa. According to the 2010 New York State Department of Transportation Economic Impacts Report, NFIA has an annual economic impact of $158 million and employs 2,000 people.  It is estimated that one airline passenger in upstate New York generates $840 in economic return.

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