Plattsburgh International: "Montreal's U.S. airport"
Published Saturday, January 4, 2014 9:59PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 4, 2014 11:55PM EST
Plattsburgh has been a popular destination for Montreal shoppers for years, but lately the small town of about 20,000 has become even more popular with travelers.
That comes thanks to the relatively inexpensive flights out of the town's international airport, which is trying hard to keep up with an ever increasing demand.
The airport was formerly an air force base, which closed in 1995, it reopened as a civilan airport in 2007.
“In about November of 2007, Allegiant Airline started their first operations here, with service to I believe Fort Lauderdale. The minute they landed their first aircraft here at the airport, the terminal became too small,” said Chris Kreig, airport manager.
Management quickly realized it had a success on its hands. Now, as many as 150,000 passengers move through Plattsburgh every year.
The parking lot has grown from 600 spots to about 2,000 and is being expanded again with an eye to accommodating about 4,500 cars.
It's estimated more than 70 per cent of the passengers moving through the airport are from Quebec and quick check of the parking lot confirms that.
Local business leaders like to bill the facility as Montreal’s U.S. airport.
“We’re Montreal’s U.S. suburb hosting Montreal’s U.S. airport and we want folks to feel that way,” said Garry Douglas of the Plattsburgh Chamber of Commerce.
Pierrefonds resident Honor Pattee said she hasn’t flown out of Dorval airport for years, despite its proximity to her home.
“Plattsburgh was so much cheaper so we could afford to come from here. But from Dorval, it's so much more expensive,” she said.
Pattee said she saves “hundreds” of dollars by traveling south and flying out of the states.
And Julie Martel from Varennes, who has a family of six, said she saved almost $2,000 by flying out of Plattsburgh.
The airport works hard at making Quebecers feel welcome – all of the signs are bilingual, inside and out.
The same will be true of the new terminal, which will be triple the size of the current building - all with the hope of attracting more airlines and even more passengers to Montreal's U.S. airport.