LIMA is taking off
Elected officials stand with John Pearsall, president of Elite Airways.

IB/Chalifoux

LIMA is taking off

Story By: RICK CHALIFOUX
4/28/2016


ISLIP TOWN—Last Friday morning, Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter conducted a well-attended press conference welcoming Elite Airways to Long Island MacArthur Airport. Along with airline president John Pearsall, Carpenter announced four new destinations that would be offered from LIMA to popular vacation destinations in the Northeast and Southeast – Myrtle Beach, Orlando-Melbourne, Portland, Maine, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

Carpenter stated that the addition of Elite offers Long Islanders the opportunity to travel to some of the most popular vacation destinations along the East Coast.

 “I’m thrilled that the Town of Islip is entering into a partnership with Elite Airways,” said Carpenter. “We’re never going to be LaGuardia, we’re never going to be JFK for those that are concerned about that, but we’ll always be LI MacArthur Airport and [keep it] a special, special place.”

Congressman Peter King (R- 2nd District) congratulated the town and Elite on their new partnership and wished them well in the years to come.

“I want to commend Angie for the outstanding job that she and the town board have done,” said King. “MacArthur is an amazing facility…and this is a major step forward. I’m proud to be here today…and I want to thank you for really stepping up and doing what had to be done here.

“No need to cancel flights,” added King. “MacArthur will keep it going.”

Elite Airways President John Pearsall then spoke about his hopes for a successful partnership with MacArthur with its initial lineup of flights, and even hinted at the possibility of connections to Chicago and St. Croix further down the line.

“Elite Airways is pleased to be bringing three new destinations to Long Island MacArthur Airport,” said Pearsall. “We anticipate passenger demand to be strong for these new routes and thank airport and community leaders for their support…You’re going to find that we’ll be announcing additional destinations as we get more and more familiar with the market here.”

Pearsall noted that persistent customer demand actually helped persuade Elite to team up with LIMA. 

“On our route that we’re presently flying between Newark and Vero Beach – which has been very successful – we’ve had more people asking for Islip MacArthur than any other destination we fly to,” he said. “This all came together at the right time.”

Regarding prices, Pearsall noted that fares are “very, very reasonable.” Starting rates include $139 each way to Myrtle Beach, $149 each way to Orlando/Melbourne, and $149 each way to Bar Harbor. 

“We’re proud of these fares and we’re going to keep these fares,” said Pearsall. “We will make you proud as an air carrier serving Islip.”

Carpenter came forward to encourage the public to take advantage of the new flight opportunities and spread the word.

“You’ve heard of all the support and faith we’ve gotten from all our partners,” she said. “Now it’s up to the rest of us to go out there and let people know this service is here. They’re not going to be running planes out of here if there are only a handful of people on them. They’re running a business…and we’re all cognizant of how the numbers have to be.”

 Founded in 2006 and currently based out of Portland, Maine, Elite Airways provides charter and scheduled service throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and South America. Non-stop service from LIMA (ISP) commences on June 17, 2016. Elite Airways originally operated as a charter air service, but was authorized as a scheduled air carrier in 2012. Their team now has a fleet of 11 Bombardier CRJ-200 and CRJ-700 regional jets. 

Meanwhile, on Monday, Islip announced a delay to the planned launching of service from National Airlines from Islip to Puerto Rico.

“National has experienced challenges acquiring the very popular Boeing 757 aircraft,” said Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “Regretfully, this has prompted National to postpone their June 1 launch from Long Island MacArthur Airport to Puerto Rico. However, the town remains very enthusiastic in welcoming National Airlines to our airport family,” she said.

 “This was not our choice, but rather due to the protracted negotiations for new aircraft making a June 1 start impossible,” said Edward Davidson, National Airlines president and CEO. “We continue to experience strong demand in our scheduled passenger service markets, but are taking a very measured approach to growing this part of our business.  While we evaluate options to expand our aircraft fleet and identify potential markets for future expansion, we remain committed to serving our customers.”

Reservations for routes affected by these changes are no longer being accepted, and customers who have already purchased tickets will receive a full refund to their original form of payment from the escrow account.

For questions relating to National Airlines flight refunds, call (855) 757-6999.

For more information regarding Elite Airways flights, visit www.macarthurairport.com, www.eliteairways.com, or call 1-877-393-2510.