U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday urged Southwest Airlines to consider expanding its service to Atlanta through MacArthur Airport in Islip, if its planned buy of a low-cost rival airline is approved.

Schumer’s staff provided excerpts from a letter he wrote to Gary C. Kelly, the airline’s chief executive.

Schumer said that, according to a demand study he helped get funding for, MacArthur Airport estimates there are 258,000 potential customers who fly to Atlanta from New York City airports who could fly instead from Islip.

 “Southwest Airlines is MacArthur’s most prosperous airline and gaining access to airports currently serviced by AirTran, such as Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, would be hugely beneficial to Southwest passengers in Long Island, New York,” Schumer said in the letter to Kelly.

“Convenient and affordable air service is essential for Long Island families and this merger presents significant opportunities for Long Island residents who depend on MacArthur for cheaper, more convenient, air travel,” Schumer said.

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