Sep. 19, 2013 |
Written by Ken Valenti
Business travelers will be able to fly straight to Boston from Westchester County Airport when a new air taxi service starts next month.
The single-bound flights, in Cirrus three-passenger airplanes, will be the only regularly scheduled flights to the Massachusetts capital from Westchester. Commercial flights can also take travelers to intermediary stops in Lebanon, N.H., or even Philadelphia or Washington, D.C.
“We’re trying to add to the convenience of not having to go to La Guardia to catch a shuttle flight,” said Andrew Schmertz, chief executive of Hopscotch Air, one of two companies who joined together to offer the service. The other is Linear Air.
They will fly direct to Logan International Airport near downtown Boston beginning Oct. 1, and will add trips to the Hanscom Field airport on Route 128 in Bedford, Mass., two days later. The flights are designed to be one-day round-trip business excursions, leaving Westchester at 7:15 a.m. and departing the Boston area at 5 p.m.
Schmertz said Hopscotch had been running the direct flights on-demand, but decided to make it a regular service when they noticed this summer that they were getting calls for four or more of the flights each week.
The new service reflects a growing popularity of different types of business services, less expensive than chartering an airplane to leave at a specific time, and more convenient than commercial flights.
“This is a concept that is catching on in certain little niche markets throughout the United States,” said Steven Ferguson, assistant manager of Westchester County Airport.
The round-trip flights will cost $875 to Logan and $775 to Hanscom Field.
Dr. Stephen Soloway, who lives in southern New Jersey and flies to Westchester, Boston and other areas, said the direct flights on small planes are valuable in helping him visit family members and make business trips, while returning home in time to see patients.
“After your health, buying the saving of time is about the most important thing I can think of,” he said.
The one-hour flight each way takes about a quarter of the time it would to drive.
Schmertz said Hopscotch has seen an increase in the hiring of small airplanes to get to more airports, including some that commercial flights do not reach, such as the one in Collegeville, Penn.
The Boston flights will use Cirrus airplanes, each of which is equipped with a parachute in the roof designed to float the entire aircraft to the ground in an emergency.
The flights will leave from Panorama Flight Service at the airport, on the opposite side of the runways from the main terminal. The location adds to the convenience, skipping the check-in hassles that come with commercial flights.
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