CommutAir and United Airlines Return to Elmira Corning Regional Airport

United Airlines is officially back at the Elmira/Corning Regional Airport

By: Brooke Taylor

Updated: Apr 09, 2018 11:50 PM EDT


ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 News) – The first United Airlines flight touched down at the Elmira/Corning Regional Airport Monday, from Newark Liberty International Airport.

The flight marks the start of more options for travelers.

“The Detroit hub through Delta is a fantastic hub, however it doesn’t get you everywhere you need to go,” Bill Hopper, Director of Aviation at the Elmira/Corning Regional Airport, said. “United now, pretty much fills the holes.”

United Airlines will offer two daily departures to its hub at Newark Liberty International. From Newark, United Airlines offers 150 destinations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

“In an airport in a community this size, to have this many options, is wonderful,” Hopper said. “Also the easy access off of I-86, you can be here in two minutes off the highway.”

Adding the airline took about 17 months, but it is not the first time United has come to the Elmira/Corning Regional Airport.

In 2016, United Airlines pulled out of the Southern Tier. However, Bare Antolos, the United Airlines Sales Manager, says they have new leadership and a new focus on smaller communities.

“About a year ago, our president made a decision that were going to start flying into smaller cities to expand our network to compete with out larger competitors, and that’s how this came about,” Antolos said.



United Airlines launches Elmira-to-Newark service

United Airlines is back, and this time, Chemung County officials hope it’s for good.

County officials announced in November that United would return to the Elmira Corning Regional Airport and would provide daily flights to Newark, New Jersey.

That services started Monday afternoon.

United previously provided flights from Elmira to Chicago, but pulled out of the Southern Tier in 2016.

The airport suffered another blow in February 2017 when American Airlines also pulled out of the Elmira market.

Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli (Photo: File photo)

United’s return is big news for the region, said Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli.

“It’s great news for both the business traveler and for the pleasure traveler,” Santulli said. “Delta has been terrific, and Detroit is a great hub, but we needed another destination, especially one that would open for those flying east in particular. That hub really opens up a lot of doors to us. United is in 338 airports and they do 4,500 flights a day on five continents.”

United joins Delta and Allegiant, which provides daily flights to Orlando, as the other carriers at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport.

Attracting United back to the Southern Tier took a real community effort, Santulli said.

The airport reached out to the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce to mobilize leaders of the business community in Chemung, Steuben and Schuyler counties.

More: United returning to Elmira airport

“We are excited to offer two new daily departures to our valued customers traveling between the Elmira Corning Regional Airport and our New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport,” said Jill Kaplan, United’s president of New York and New Jersey. “We’ve timed these flights for customers to be able to then connect to more than 60 business and leisure destinations in the U.S. and more than 20 international locations.”

Flights will depart from the Elmira Corning Regional Airport at 6 a.m. and 5:51 p.m. Flights will depart from Newark Liberty International Airport at 4 and 8:55 p.m.

Flights will be just over an hour in duration.

The reintroduction of United service comes as the airport is in the midst of a multi-million dollar upgrade, which includes a new 8,000-foot runway, all new taxiways and aprons, new radar, and a state-of-the-art terminal.

The Elmira Corning Regional Airport is undergoing a major face lift with the help of state and federal funds. (Photo: FILE PHOTO)

“With the new United service added to the existing services on Delta and Allegiant, and the new terminal scheduled for completion this October, Elmira Corning Regional Airport now offers the most complete air service in the Twin Tiers and southern Finger Lakes with the most unique terminal for an airport of this size,” said Director of Aviation Bill Hopper.

“I believe Elmira will be the dominant airport in the Southern Tier going forward,” Santulli added. “Newark just gave us one more big piece with United to make us the primary air facility in the Southern Tier. We’re a busy airport. When the new terminal opens, on top of all money we’ve put into the infrastructure of the airport, nobody will compete with us, at least in the Southern Tier.”

Follow @SGJeffMurray on Twitter