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Long IslandTransportation

MacArthur Airport’s new airline flying to Florida, S.C., Maine

Guests board an Elite Airways plane parked for

Guests board an Elite Airways plane parked for tours at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma on April 22, 2016. Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

Elite Airways will fly three nonstop routes from Long Island MacArthur Airport when it starts service June 17, the airline announced at a news conference at the Ronkonkoma airport Friday.

Long Island travelers will be able to use the airline to fly to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Portland, Maine, and Melbourne, Florida, airline officials said.

The Portland service will continue on to Bar Harbor — the first jet service to ever serve that destination, Elite officials said — and the Melbourne route will eventually continue on to Saint Croix, creating a one-stop trip to the Virgin Islands from the Islip Town-owned airport, Elite Airways CEO John Pearsall said.

All three nonstop routes are new destinations never before served by an airline at MacArthur, said acting airport director Rob Schneider after a news conference at the facility, where one of Elite’s Bombardier regional jets was on display for tours and photos.

“We’re very proud to finally bring service here to MacArthur,” Pearsall said. “We will be announcing additional destinations as we get more and more familiar with the market here.”

One of those could potentially be a small airport outside Chicago, he said. The airline already has service at Chicago Rockford International Airport and “we were thinking of connecting that” to MacArthur, Pearsall said.

Pearsall added that Elite has consistently heard a demand from its passengers to fly to Long Island. “The funniest thing is that if it wasn’t for people who are originally from Long Island, we wouldn’t be here either,” he said. “On our route we’re presently flying between Newark and Vero Beach . . . we’ve had more people asking for Islip, Long Island, than any other destination we fly to.”

The one-way starting fare to Melbourne is $149, to Myrtle Beach is $139, and to Portland $99, according to Elite’s reservations website. Travelers can begin booking tickets now.

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter encouraged Long Islanders to take advantage of the service, reminding them at the news conference that airlines don’t keep unpopular routes.

“It’s up to the rest of us to go out there and let people know this service is here. They’re not going to be running planes out of here if there are only a handful of people on it,” Carpenter said. “I’m counting on you, we’re both counting on you to get out here and talk about the Long Island MacArthur Airport experience.”

Elite’s flights from Islip to all three locations will be offered on Fridays and Sundays. The Myrtle Beach route is expected to be seasonal, Pearsall said.

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