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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT

Westchester Flyers Bid Farewell To AirTran

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – As the last departure for AirTran Airways from Westchester County Airport nears, some flyers say they will miss the airline while others are not concerned.

“I think there’s a couple of airlines that fly to West Palm Beach,” said John Mattio of Danbury, Conn. He was flying out of Westchester to the popular Florida destination on AirTran on Thursday and was not fazed by the move.

AirTran, a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines, will stop flying into and out of Westchester starting Sunday.

Patricia Chemka, Westchester’s deputy commissioner of public works and transportation, is hopeful that JetBlue, which flies to West Palm Beach from Westchester, will pick up the slack left by AirTran’s move. Airlines could grab those flights in an October lottery.

Mattio said he has racked up many flyer miles and uses them when booking long flights. However, he purchases short flights based mostly on price, availability and schedule.

Some people are not affected by the move and will continue to use Westchester County Airport, but Gerry Zattosky is not one of them.

“It’s much easier,” Zattosky said of departing from Westchester. She lives in Syracuse, but she visits her daughter in New Jersey and then heads to visit her other daughter in Atlanta. Zattosky has always liked leaving from Westchester rather than Newark but said she will probably not use the county airport anymore.

She was Atlanta-bound Monday afternoon with her grandson, Mike Loganchuk, and his friend, Rob Horrigan. The two boys are on summer vacation from college and said AirTran’s move did not matter to them. They would look for cheaper flights regardless of the airline.

Chemka is hopeful that Delta Air Lines, which also flies to Atlanta out of Westchester, will take the open flights in the October lottery.

AirTran had been flying into and departing from the airport since 2007, making up 10 percent of the 100 daily flights. Airport and Westchester County officials were notified of the move Jan. 20.

The company is pulling out of Westchester because it wants to bring AirTran into the “Southwest network” of flights, which means canceling service at some locations, including Westchester County, said Whitney Eichinger, a spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines.

AirTran serves 300,000 of the 2 million passengers who use the Westchester County Airport each year.

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