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Local airports to receive additional funds

t Barack Obama to include an additional $55 million in the 2010 budget for the Essential Air Service program is expected to have positive repercussions for North Country airports.

The increased funding will aid local airlines servicing small, regional markets. Saranac Lake's Adirondack Regional Airport and Plattsburgh's International Airport, which are both served by Cape Air, will benefit from the additional funds Adirondack Regional's assistant manager Corey Hurwitch says the additional funding is welcomed news.

"We operate off the Essential Air Service program," Hurwitch said. "It's something that small communities like ours benefits from and without it, we wouldn't be able to have commercial air service here. Reauthorizing the program is a good thing for us and it keeps commercial service here."

Essential Air Service was created in 1978 when the airline industry was de-regulated, an action that led to fewer air service providers in small markets like Saranac Lake. Such rural areas generally have high costs and small populations.

Approximately 140 small-market airlines receive funding through the program. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says air travel is good for the North Country's economy.

"I've been fighting tooth and nail to protect Essential Air Service for the last eight years," Schumer said in a press release. "I am very pleased to see that President Obama has increased funding for rural air service."

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