Cape Air begins service in Rutland

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(Host)  Starting today, passengers traveling out of Rutland Aiport will be able to fly Cape Air to Boston.

As VPR’s Nina Keck reports, the Massachusetts-based airline hopes more flights and cheaper ticket prices will result in new passengers.

(Sound of airplane)

(Keck)   Before today — people flying out of Rutland had two flights to choose from.   Airport officials say the price — $99 each way — and an inconvenient schedule were big drawbacks.   

Cape Air, will offer three daily flights.  The first departs early — at 6:25; the second leaves just before noon, and there’s a late afternoon flight at 4:30. If you buy in advance, tickets cost $47.50 each way.   

Jo Ann Grassom, head of the Rutland Economic Development Council, says convenience, price and improved reliability should boost ridership.

(Grassom) "The fact that they are going to overnight a plane here makes it much easier.  Because there have been situations in the past when the airline didn’t overnight a plane in Rutland – it was in Boston and maybe the weather here was fine, but they couldn’t leave Boston.  So things got delayed and schedules became problematic so the fact that they have a plane here is really going to help that reliability of service."

(Keck)  Cape Air spokesperson Michele Haynes says their fleet of small, 9-seat planes are ideally suited for Rutland.

(Haynes) "If we have more than 9 passengers who need to get from Rutland to Boston we’ll add a plane.   And the reason that’s important is you’re a seasonal destination in Rutland Vermont so that when the demand goes down and you only have one or two or three passengers we’ll just take the rubber band and kind of contract it a little bit and we can run a 9 passenger plane with one two or three passengers without losing money and that’s the key."

(Keck)   Haynes says Cape Air flew over 700,000 passengers last year.  She says the company, which has been in business for 18 years, specializes in bringing air service to areas that are difficult to reach.

(Haynes) "It’s an interesting market for us because we’re used to traveling to places that have water as geographical barriers  – Nantucket, St. Thomas, Key West.  In this case it’s a mountainous region.  New challenge for us – we’re really looking forward to putting skis instead of golf clubs in the belly of the plane."

(Keck)    For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

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