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Frontier Airlines to add service to Tampa

Frontier Airlines is slated to add a new destination from the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.

Beginning Nov. 30, Frontier will offer nonstop service to Tampa International Airport four times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Return service will be available on the same days.

The new route will add 700 seats per week to the Tampa and southwest Florida market.

“While Frontier Airlines is new to our region, their popularity and success have rapidly expanded service for our residents to take advantage of and enjoy,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “Whether you are interested in flying to Orlando, Miami or now Tampa, the addition of these nonstop flights gives greater access, affordability and convenience to popular Florida destinations.

As part of a promotion, Frontier is offering low fares starting at $49 one way on select dates. The promo fare will be on sales through midnight Oct. 3.

Rochester’s newest airline, Frontier began service to Orlando International Airport on May 20, 2021, and has since added nonstop service twice a week to Miami International Airport beginning Nov. 4.

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Low-fare airline to service Rochester to Orlando

The Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport will have a new low-fare airline on the tarmac beginning next month.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello on Wednesday announced that low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines will begin three-day-a-week service on May 20 from Rochester to Orlando International Airport.

“I am thrilled to welcome Frontier to our community with nonstop service to Orlando,” Bello said. “These new nonstop flights offer an affordable, convenient way for residents to travel to Florida and points beyond. I am grateful to Frontier for this exciting investment in our market and I hope our travelers will consider these new flight options.”

To mark the new partnership with Rochester’s airport, Frontier is offering ultra-low promotional fares starting at $49 for tickets purchased prior to April 11. Blackout dates apply and round-trip purchase is not required.

“We’re excited to launch Rochester service with new nonstop flights to Orlando,” said Daniel Shurz, senior vice president of commercial for Frontier Airlines. “Summer is quickly approaching, and Frontier’s low fares and friendly flying experience offer a convenient option for families and friends who are looking to travel and explore new places.”

The airline will depart Rochester Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3:10 p.m. and will depart Orlando for Rochester Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:50 a.m.

Passengers can begin booking tickets immediately online at Strong passenger support of the nonstop flights will demonstrate that the community can support additional Frontier nonstop service in the future to other destinations. Frontier Airlines schedules are subject to change based on demand and conditions due to COVID-19, officials said.

In response to the ongoing pandemic, the airport continues to take additional precautions to promote health and safety at the airport with the #ReadySetROC initiative.

“Our ongoing #ReadySetROC initiatives include enhanced cleaning, additional hand sanitizing stations, face-covering policies, social distancing markers, plastic shields at counters and free masks,” said Airport Director Andrew Moore. “As more people get vaccinated and air travel continues to increase, we remain committed to providing all of our travelers a clean, sanitized and safe environment.”

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Greenlight Networks brings high-speed internet to Rochester airport

Air travelers to and from Rochester will get a boost to their internet speed through a new advertising partnership between Greenlight Networks LLC and the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.

“This partnership is about an investment in our community,” said Greenlight CEO Mark Murphy. “The reliability and speed of Greenlight’s world-class internet connection in the airport will showcase our service and will provide most users speeds better than what they may be receiving in their own homes. We are excited for everyone who travels through the airport to experience what Greenlight customers already know and love, the power of true high-speed internet.”

Greenlight offers the fastest fiber optics network statewide. The free, high-speed internet for travelers and airport staffers and vendors will offer upload and download speeds of up to 500 Mbps, 100 times faster than the previous 5 Mbps available at the airport.

The partnership also includes an all-fiber backbone to power the airport’s day-to-day operations. The new services went into effect on Feb. 4.

“The Greater Rochester International Airport is one of the main gateways for visitors into our community. The new partnership between Greenlight Networks and the airport will certainly deliver a positive impression of both the airport and the community for visitors to our city,” said Don Jeffries, president and CEO of Visit Rochester. “The high-speed capabilities of the Greenlight Network will appeal to visitors, providing them with the technology they need to start their visit to Rochester off on the right foot.”

The jump in speed and technology will allow both business and leisure travelers to work, stream and stay connected when in the airport. Greenlight’s advanced upload and download speeds mean travelers can do even more while waiting for their flight — like video conferencing and streaming without buffering or lag time. To ensure a fast, reliable connection for all travelers, Greenlight also has increased the number of wireless access points to guarantee a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the airport.

To access the new high-speed Wi-Fi, travelers can open a browser page on their device and they will be automatically redirected to the splash page. Once travelers accept the terms they will be connected to one of the fastest airport internet connections in the U.S.

As part of the agreement, Greenlight signage has been placed throughout the airport including entry and exit walkways to both concourses, feature walls behind each baggage claim area, the departure stairwell leading to baggage claim, table tents in the food court and rotating graphics on the airport’s 20 Flight Information Display screens (FIDS). Greenlight also will be participating in future airport events.

“After announcing a $46 million project in October, which aims to add 93 new jobs and a new headquarters in Henrietta, Greenlight Networks continues to thrive in our community,” said County Executive Adam Bello. “This new partnership not only boosts the presence of Greenlight in our region, but also provides the thousands of people who walk the terminals of our airport with access to one of the fastest airport internet connections in the U.S. I am excited to see the strides Greenlight will make in the future and thank them for their investments in Monroe County.”

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Area airports receive federal funding

Nearly $37 million in federal funding has been made available to Upstate New York airports that have been devastated by the pandemic, including more than $4.7 million for the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.

Last month’s bipartisan COVID-19 relief package included $36.6 million for specific airports across Upstate New York, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said this week. The funding was set aside to help airports stay afloat during the second wave of the pandemic.

“Air travel is vital to the connectivity and success of the upstate economy, which is why, as New York battles a second wave of the pandemic, I fought tooth and nail in negotiations to get airports the funding they need to keep services running,” Schumer said in a statement Thursday. “Airports serve important functions in many communities, especially in more rural areas, connecting people to the rest of the world and allowing for economic opportunities to land. In the new congress, I will continue to fight for federal funding to keep our airports open and operational and to make sure Upstate New York has the help it needs to revive and thrive.”

Funding for airports in the Finger Lakes region includes:
• Greater Rochester International Airport – $4.72 million
• Penn Yan Airport – $24,000
• Canandaigua Airport – $13,000
• Genesee County Airport – $13,000
• Finger Lakes Regional Airport – $13,000
• Dansville Municipal Airport – $13,000
• Perry-Warsaw Airport – $13,000
• Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport – $1.37 million

“Like so many airports throughout the country, the Greater Rochester International Airport has experienced a decrease in air travel throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “The $4.7 million in federal aid secured by Leader Schumer and Sen. Gillibrand will help our airport continue to adapt and improve our health and safety measures as we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and hope to see air travel return to normal. Since the start of the pandemic, we have taken numerous steps to ensure the public health and safety of travelers and passengers, including our #ReadySetRoc initiative. These funds will help to ensure we can continue those efforts and provide the best experience for residents and visitors of Monroe County.”

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CBP officers seize $2 million worth of counterfeit items at Rochester airport

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Frederick Douglass-Greater Rochester International Airport seized nearly $2 million worth of counterfeit items in October.

A counterfeit Gucci handbag seized by CBP officers at Greater Rochester International Airport in October. (provided)
A counterfeit Gucci handbag seized by CBP officers at Greater Rochester International Airport in October. (provided)

CBP on Tuesday said last month officers targeted multiple shipments that totaled nearly 200 seizures of items that violated intellectual property rights, were Food and Drug Administration violations or drug paraphernalia. The items had a total manufacturer suggested retail price value of $1.85 million.

“Our officers continue to do an amazing job targeting shipments and identifying these violations,” said Rochester Port Director Ronald Menz in a statement. “CBP has a vital role in protecting not only the consumer but also businesses from imported fraudulent items.”

IPR violations include products that infringe on U.S. trademarks, copyrights and patents. Other violations can include misclassification of merchandise, false country-of-origin markings, health and safety issues and valuation issues. CBP officials said these violations can threaten the health and safety of American consumers, the economy and national security.

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Airport to receive funding for safety upgrades

Greater Rochester International Airport is slated to receive nearly $5.7 million in federal funding for improvements.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the airport, which soon will be known as Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport, $5.68 million in Federal Aviation Administration funds to be used to extend a taxiway and install runway guard lights, helping to meet the operational and safety needs of the airport.

“Air travel to and from Rochester International is vital to the connectivity and success of the regional economy, which is why, as the region rebuilds after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we provide the funding necessary to keep the airports safe and efficient,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer in a statement. “I’m proud to deliver this funding and will continue to fight to make sure the whole Rochester-Finger Lakes region has the help it needs to revive and thrive.”

Rochester’s airport is the fifth-busiest in the state of New York and home to the 642nd Aviation Support Battalion. A portion of the newest funding comes from FAA CARES Act grants.

“Investing in airport infrastructure is vital to promoting economic development in our communities,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “This funding will help the Greater Rochester International Airport enhance safety for people flying in and out of Rochester.”

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Airport to be renamed for abolitionist Frederick Douglass

The Greater Rochester International Airport will adopt the name of the city’s most famous abolitionist.

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass

County lawmakers on Tuesday voted to change the airport name to Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport, following a petition and bipartisan legislation co-sponosored by Democratic Minority Leader Vincent Felder and Republican Legislator Karla Boyce on July 30.

“I got very emotional when I heard the news,” said Nettie Washington Douglass, great-great-granddaughter of Frederick Douglass. “This is an incredible honor for the Douglass family, which includes all of the residents of Rochester, N.Y. Thanks to everyone who made this possible including Richard Glaser, who started the name change petition, and the Monroe County Legislature. I can’t wait to hear the captain say, ‘Welcome to Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport!’”

Douglass is also the great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington and chair of Rochester-based, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI).

In a letter to local legislators, Felder and Boyce wrote that “to know where we are going, we must first remember where we have been.” The legislation not only authorizes the name change but placement of educational materials within the airport to allow travelers to learn about Douglass.

The legislation does not require any additional funding from the County of Monroe. Last month, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello endorsed the action, stating that he looked forward to working with the Federal Aviation Administration “to advance this initiative through the approval process in the weeks and months to come so that we can honor the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass in this way.”

Kenneth Morris Jr.
Kenneth Morris Jr.

“Frederick Douglass was one of the most well-traveled Americans of the 19th century so there’s no doubt he would be a frequent flier in the 21st century,” said Kenneth Morris Jr., FDFI president and Nettie Washington Douglass’ eldest son. “Douglass called Rochester his home and he chose this as his final resting place. By honoring this particular historical figure in this way, I believe that Rochester is saying something important about itself: it wants to be a national center for individual rights and justice.”

The petition for the name change was led by Glaser, founder of Digital Rochester and an original board member of Greater Rochester Enterprise Inc. Glaser also founded RocGrowth, a platform that supports entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the Rochester region.

The petition reads, in part: “A former slave, Douglass is considered the most influential African American of the 19th century. He is known across the globe for his fight to end slavery and his advocacy for the unrealized foundational principles of our country.

“Douglass’ message might be more relevant today than ever since the struggles he fought for remain ongoing. His words and actions continue to inspire us to rise to a higher vision of ourselves and our nation,” the petition reads.

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Area airports receive federal funding

Three Rochester-area airports will share nearly $700,000 in federal funding earmarked for safety and quality improvement projects.

“Air travel in and out of the greater Rochester region is vital to the connectivity and success of the regional economy, which is why, as the region reopens after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we provide the funding necessary to keep the airports safe and efficient,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. “I’m proud to deliver this funding and will continue to fight to make sure Rochester has the help it needs to revive and thrive.”

Greater Rochester International Airport will receive $100,000, Perry-Warsaw Airport will receive $465,000 and Genesee County Airport will receive $126,000. A portion of the funding to each airport comes from FAA CARES Act grants, which Schumer helped negotiate.

“As communities in New York prepare to reopen, this critical funding will help local airports in the greater Rochester region provide high-quality and safe travel experiences,” said U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “This funding is key to ensuring the continued economic stability and success of this region.”

The funding will be used to extend taxiways, construct snow removal equipment and remove non-hazard obstructions.

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Southwest increases flights to Florida

Southwest Airlines has added new seasonal non-stop flights from Rochester to Florida for January and February.

southwest-logoSouthwest will use its 737-700 aircraft for the new service from the Greater Rochester International Airport to Ft. Lauderdale on select Saturdays in January and February 2020. The aircraft also will be used to continue Southwest’s winter flights from Rochester to Ft. Myers, Fla.

It is the third consecutive winter that Southwest will offer the non-stop service to Ft. Myers, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said in a statement. In the past, the service was offered on three select Saturdays; this coming winter it will be expanded to eight select Saturdays.

The new flights increase the number of seats to Florida by more than 2,200.

“Our recently completed ROC renovation project was designed to make our airport a top-tier choice for travel to and from Monroe County, and major airlines are certainly taking notice,” Dinolfo said. “Both Ft. Lauderdale and Ft. Myers are high-demand destinations and these direct flights are sure to be popular choices for snowbirds and vacationing families alike. I thank Southwest for its commitment to our airport.”

The new and increased number of direct flights are in addition to nonstop service already offered daily to Orlando and nonstop service offered on weekends to Tampa.

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Airport receives $5.8 million federal grant

The Greater Rochester International Airport will receive nearly $6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The funding is earmarked for critical safety renovations such as new airfield guidance signs, enhanced runway lighting and runway rehabilitation, U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle announced Monday.

“I’m so pleased that this significant grant will help strengthen the infrastructure of the Greater Rochester International Airport and enhance the safety and security of travelers,” Morelle said. “This grant supports the ongoing revitalization of our airport and complements the substantial New York State investment that is truly transforming our community’s transportation hub.”

Rochester’s airport is still raking in the accolades for its two-year, $79 million renovation that included a new entrance canopy, a wide-scale redesign of the airport’s terminal building to feature new shopping and dining options for travelers and new designs that incorporate accessibility features, with a particular focus on the deaf and hearing-impaired community.

Since the renovation’s completion last fall, the airport has received a handful of additional grants including $90,000 to conduct an environmental study and $1.5 million  to remove hazardous obstructions  from the Federal Aviation Administration and $499,000 from the state Department of Transportation to enable the airport to construct a parking guidance system inside the airport ramp garage.

“I am grateful to the U.S. DOT for their investment and look forward to continuing our efforts to improve (the) passenger experience and further strengthen our region’s ability to remain competitive in the global economy,” Morelle said of Monday’s announcement.

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Airport improves accessibility for the blind

The Greater Rochester International Airport has taken steps to improve access for blind and low-vision travelers.

The airport has joined the Aira Tech Corp. airport network to enable passengers to access visual information on-demand from a remote Aira agent. The service is free.

“We are proud to partner with Aira to offer complimentary, on-demand access to visual information for passengers while at the airport,” Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said in a statement Tuesday. “The addition of this technology will create a better passenger experience for blind and low-vision travelers and is timely for our community as host to the upcoming American Council of the Blind national conference and convention July 5 through 12.”

Aira is a service that connects blind and low-vision people to trained, remotely located agents. Through a smartphone app or through an optional pair of Horizon Smart Glasses, Aira delivers instant access to visual information at the touch of a button. The agent makes use of live video stream, GPS, maps and other web-based data to provide real-time information to travelers.

“Rochester is becoming a hub for progressive inclusion as it continues to adopt the enhanced experiences that Aira provides for those who are blind or have low vision, such as shopping at Wegmans and now traveling via (Greater Rochester International) Airport,” said Aira co-founder and CEO Suman Kanuganti.

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Airport grant to enable parking system

The Greater Rochester International Airport has been awarded a grant to install a garage parking guidance system.

The $499,000 state Department of Transportation grant will enable the airport to construct a parking guidance system inside the airport ramp garage. The system will use visual cues to help drivers find available parking spaces.

Each parking space will have colored lights that indicate whether the space is handicap or not, open or occupied. Sensors at each parking space determine occupancy.

“This technology will create a customer friendly experience for our garage parking customers at the airport,” Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said in a statement. “Passengers will be able to use the parking guidance system to view available parking spots at a glance, maximizing garage parking efficiency and increasing customer satisfaction.”

Roughly 1,400 parking spaces on the first and second levels of the garage will be considered for the guidance system. The roof level of the garage will not be included, officials said.

“This is a great enhancement to our recent ROC renovation project, which transformed our airport into a modern, state-of-the-art facility that will help us grow more jobs, build better, fiscally-responsible budgets and support stronger families here for years to come,” Dinolfo said.

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Finger Lakes airports receive funding for improvements

Six airports in the Finger Lakes region have been selected to share $2.6 million in state funding for modernization and operational improvements.

aeroplane-aircraft-airplane-46148Funded through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State Aviation Capital Grant Program, some 31 airports statewide will receive a total of $23.6 million. The funding will provide critical support for local business development and regional economic competitiveness, officials said this week.

“New York’s airports represent the front door to our local communities and are critical to facilitating tourism and business development,” Cuomo said in a news release. “A world class airport is crucial to regional economic growth, and by investing in the modernization of our local airports we are creating vibrant communities where people want to live, work and play.”

Local airports include:
• Genesee County Airport—$656,000 to construct a new aircraft hangar;
• Penn Yan-Yates County Airport—$559,000 to construct a deicing containment system and emergency equipment;
• Greater Rochester International Airport—$499,000 to deploy a new state-of-the-art garage parking guidance system;
• Williamson-Sodus Airport—$336,000 for the installation of a new Jet-A fuel tank and associated equipment; and
• Pine Hill Airport, Orleans County—$204,000 to construct an aircraft fuel storage and dispensing system.

“The New York Aviation Management Association and its members support Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to ensure that the state pursues policies that are pro-growth and pro job creation,” association President Christina Callahan said. “Sustained and enhanced investments in our local airports is one of these winning strategies.”

The funding complements major renovations that have been completed in Rochester, at Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Elmira Corning Regional Airport and Plattsburgh International Airport. A $79 million renovation and upgrade was completed in Rochester last fall.

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Number of guns found at Rochester airport declined in 2018

The number of firearms found at the Greater Rochester International Airport fell in 2018, new data from the Transportation Security Administration shows.

Two guns were found during TSA checks at Rochester’s airport last year, down from four in 2017. TSA officers in upstate stopped 14 handguns at checkpoints in 2018, a slight decrease from the 16 that were caught in 2017. Only Buffalo Niagara International Airport saw an increase last year, from three to seven guns caught.

Albany International Airport saw a decrease from six to three guns and Syracuse Hancock International Airport saw a decrease from three to two firearms caught.

A total of 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country last year, averaging 11.6 firearms per day. That’s a roughly 7 percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. A decade ago, the number of guns caught by TSA agents nationally was 926.

Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber.

The top five airports where TSA officers detected guns at checkpoints in 2018 were: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 298; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with 219; Phoenix Sky Harbor International with 129; Denver International with 126 and Orlando International at 123.

Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapon permit, firearms are not permitted to be carried onto an airplane.

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Airport names new director

Fourteen months after stepping into the role of interim director of the Greater Rochester International Airport, Andrew Moore has been named to the permanent position of airport director.

Andrew Moore
Andrew Moore

“I am thrilled to announce that Andy Moore will continue to pilot our Airport well into the future with his steady leadership and unprecedented understanding of local aviation,” Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said in a statement. “Andy did an incredible job of bringing our transformational airport renovation project to fruition, all while managing day-to-day airport operations with minimal impact on local travelers during construction.”

In the last year, Moore oversaw the completion of the $79 million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Project at the airport. He previously served as deputy airport director for four years.

In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations at the airport, Moore will oversee enhanced air service development efforts to attract new flights and expanded seat capacity for destinations out of Rochester.

Moore is a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives and has earned industry certification from Airport Council International in the areas of concession management and airport security. He is an active participant of the New York Aviation
Administration Legislative Advocacy Day and current serves as NYAMA treasurer.

Moore replaces former airport director Michael Giardino, who took a new position in Virginia in
October 2017.

“I’m confident that Andy’s experience and expertise will help our airport continue to attract more visitors, more jobs and more investment to Monroe County moving forward,” Dinolfo said.

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