Between September 2011 and January 2013 our focus, my attorney friend Jeanne Gittler and I, spent a considerable amount of time pushing the idea of the Niagara Falls International Airport as a destination for international flights. They being either scheduled flights or charters.
The U.S. Department of Commerce in its annual survey has for the first time identified the Buffalo – Niagara Falls area as a Top 20 destination for foreign visitors from beyond Canada and Mexico. And yet, the overwhelming majority are on tours which originate in Toronto, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. They come, they see, they miss the surrounding sights and sounds, they leave.
Our goal was to try to get the local players to work to make this area the starting point of tours and not a drive thru. We were doing this as nothing more than concerned citizens who are sad to see the continued hemorrhaging of residents, jobs, and business while tourism and import – export opportunities go wanting. North Carolina with a population one-half the size of the New York State has two cities offering direct international flights to our one. What makes it more discouraging is that Raleigh and Charlotte’s airports are only 130 air miles apart while the distance from Niagara Falls to JFK New York is 314 miles.
Just this past December the International Air Transport Association (IATA) made this prediction:
By 2016, the top five countries for international travel measured by number of passengers will be the United States (at 223.1 million, an increase of 42.1 million), the United Kingdom (at 200.8 million, 32.8 million new passengers), Germany (at 172.9 million, +28.2 million), Spain (134.6 million, +21.6 million), and France (123.1 million, +23.4 million).
By 2016, the largest international freight markets will be the United States (7.7 million tonnes), Germany (4.2 million tonnes), China (3.5 million tonnes), Hong Kong (3.2 million tonnes), Japan (2.9 million tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (2.5 million tonnes), the Republic of Korea (1.9 million tonnes), the United Kingdom (1.8 million tonnes), India (1.6 million tonnes) and the Netherlands (1.6 million tonnes).
You’d think we’d be interested in pursuing a piece of the growing international travel & trade market.
|George Maziarz||NYS Senator||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Kathleen Hochul||U.S. Congressman||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Robert Odawi Porter||Pres. Seneca Nation||Yes||No||Yes|
|Charles Schumer||U.S. Senator||No||Yes||Yes|
|Byron Brown||Mayor of Buffalo||No||No||No|
|Paul Dyster||Mayor Of Niagara Falls||No||No||No|
|Kirsten Gillibrand||U.S. Senator||No||No||No|
|Brian Higgins||U.S. Congressman||No||No||No|
|Louise Slaughter||U.S. Congressman||No||No||No|