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Long Island MacArthur Airport talking to low-cost Wow Air

Long Island MacArthur Airport is hoping in June

Long Island MacArthur Airport is hoping in June 2015 to draw an Icelandic airline, Wow Air, to serve an international market. This is the airport on Dec. 12, 2011. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Officials at Long Island MacArthur Airport are hoping to lure budget airline Wow Air, which operates out of Reykjavik, Iceland, to the Islip Town-owned facility, according to Airport Commissioner Robert Schaefer.

The idea is that travelers could fly between Long Island MacArthur in Ronkonkoma and Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik, then on to 17 other destinations in Europe served by Wow, including Paris and Copenhagen.

If they chose the airport, the airline would operate about five or six flights a week from MacArthur, Schaefer said.

The airline operates out of Boston and Baltimore and is gearing up to enter the New York market, he said.

Town officials said discussions are very preliminary and Wow Air is also considering Kennedy Airport, where competitor Icelandair operates.

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said the initial meeting with airline executives went well.

"I was very encouraged and they would be hard-pressed not to select Islip's airport," she said. "We'd be a perfect fit for them."

Schaefer said he was also optimistic that Long Island MacArthur would prove to be a better fit for Wow Air.

"First of all, you don't have to enter New York airspace, and there are more slots here," he said. "Our prices are cheaper here, and they're kind of a low-cost airline, so it's a good fit."

Schaefer said Long Island MacArthur would need a full federal inspection facility in order to accommodate international passenger flights. It was not clear when the facility could be built because of lack of federal funding.

Wow representatives did not immediately respond to an email inquiry.

Long Island MacArthur Airport has struggled financially in recent years and has two airlines operating at its facility -- Southwest and American Airlines-owned US Airways Express, both of which serve only domestic markets. Luring an international carrier would boost the struggling airport, where PenAir and Allegiant Air stopped operations last year.

"It only takes you five hours to get to Iceland, and then you're in this hub that can take you to any city in Europe in a couple hours," Carpenter said.


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