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Elite Airways suspends service at Long Island MacArthur airport until July

Passengers arrive for their flights at Long Island

Passengers arrive for their flights at Long Island MacArthur Airport on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Elite Airways will take a break from serving Long Island MacArthur Airport at the end of this month, with plans to resume service in July.

LIMA Commissioner Shelley LaRose Arken said the airline also took a seasonal monthlong break earlier this year.

While the airline did not explain the reason for the service suspension, Arken said their business structure was founded on seasonal service with a relatively lean fleet.

“They haven’t really provided a reason” for the service suspension at LIMA, she said. “They have seven aircraft that they’re using for air carrier service. They’re a relatively new startup air carrier. I think overall they’re assessing their business model and realigning it when they need to.”

Elite was also on break at LIMA from Jan. 15 to Feb. 16 this winter, Arken said.

A spokeswoman for the airline said the company operates seasonally out of LIMA.

“The company has wrapped up its seasonal service there,” said Elite Airways spokeswoman Rebecca Ayers of the airline’s presence at LIMA. “It plans to resume service in July.”

Ayers could not provide further details on the service interruption, or which routes would be served upon Elite’s return in July.

Based in Portland, Maine, Elite began service last June, with twice-weekly flights to Melbourne, Florida, and seasonal service to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Bar Harbor, Maine.

Arken said she expected Elite to return as promised this summer.

“They seem very confident. They’ve given me schedules like this before,” she said. “I’m not finding it surprising at all.” She said Elite’s summer routes are “not defined yet — they’re still working through that. They’re taking a look at Myrtle Beach again and some different locations.”

Elite was the third airline to serve the Islip Town-owned Ronkonkoma airport, along with American Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Last month, LIMA officials unveiled a new $180,000 marketing initiative to entice travelers to choose to fly out of the airport, touting the airport’s “stress less and pay less” experience compared with the bigger New York City and New Jersey airports.

“Our marketing program is going really well. There was a lot of web traffic driven by the campaign,” Arken said. “Raising awareness was what we’re going after, and we’re seeing it.”

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