Starting this summer, Long Islanders will be able to fly nonstop from Long Island MacArthur Airport to Puerto Rico six days a week — the only such service at the Ronkonkoma airport.
National Airlines, which launched scheduled passenger service in the United States three months ago after years of operating cargo and charter flights, will provide regular service to Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla and Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, officials said Friday.
Flights to San Juan will leave at 9 a.m. on Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, returning to MacArthur the same afternoon. Aguadilla flights will depart at 9 a.m. on Mondays and Fridays, also returning in the afternoon.
The service, using Boeing 757-200s, is slated to start July 1.
The rapidly expanding Orlando-based carrier sees potential at MacArthur.
“We spent a lot of time looking at the dynamics and economics of that market and where people want to go, and we determined that Puerto Rico was a prime market for that area based on the large number of expatriate Puerto Ricans who live up there,” said Edward Davidson, National president and chief operating officer.
Passengers are being lured with freebies, including a free checked bag, in-flight meal and cocktails. Travelers can now book round-trip tickets from MacArthur to Puerto Rico starting in July for as low as $255 and one-way tickets for $128 — a promotional rate, the airline said.
Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said National is reviewing a proposed contract with the town-owned airport.
“As with any new business partnership, there are still details that need to be finalized, but we look forward to a long relationship with National Airlines,” Carpenter said in a statement.
Town and airport leaders have been courting new air service to bolster the struggling airport. MacArthur has lost more than half of its daily flights and nearly half of its annual passengers since 2007.
Davidson said his team was approached by MacArthur managers at an industry conference.
National Airlines will be the third commercial carrier operating at MacArthur. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines combined now offer 15 flights a day to four Florida cities, Philadelphia and Baltimore.