Slowly but surely, progress is being made at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, as the efforts to increase ridership continue.
Earlier this year, Tompkins County lawmakers approved up to $50,000 in spending to hire a consultant to speak with airlines, and to put together ways to get more people to use the airport.
That consultant has been working with higher education, business and community leaders, as well as airport officials.
“What the air service board and the interim airport manager will be attempting to do is to retrieve some of those flights, so that we’re back with the same number of flights, if not more flights, than we had at this time last year,” said retiring airport manager Bob Nicholas.
Ridership was down about 13% in 2013 as the federal government held sequestration talks, and discussed the potential closure of the airport’s federally-funded air traffic control tower.
But there are early signs that the numbers are rising.
“In terms of percentage of seats occupied (on flights), we’ve seen an improvement,” Nicholas said.