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The Real Deal: Albany Airfares Sky-high

COLONIE -- Albany International Airport is the 17th most expensive airport to fly out of according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The average fare in 2013 including taxes and fees was $433, that's more than any other upstate city in New York.
Albany tops Syracuse, where an average ticket costs $419, Rochester with an average price of $362 and Buffalo where the average ticket price is $327.  Those who run Albany International say there is a simple explanation, "our passengers travel further than probably 85% of all airports in the country.  Our average distance is about 1200 miles, you see airports with average distances of only 500 or 600 miles and really, you get what you pay for.  It costs more to fly an airplane 1200 miles than it does 500 miles," says Doug Myers, Spokesman for airport.   While ticket prices are higher in comparison to other cities, they're not much higher than what flyers have been paying for the last decade.  "Our average fare has gone up .3% since 2000, if you look at gasoline, milk automobile and housing, they've all gone up a lot more than that," Myers adds.
The airport gets paid a flat-rate per traveler, the cost of the fare after that is up to the airline.  "We're at about $8.15, if you go to other airports in the state you can go as high as $15, the cost for an airline to put someone on an airplane, so we're a bargain for airlines," Myers says.  So why aren't more airlines coming then?  "More will be coming, Jet Blue is coming in 2015 and we hope to have moreCompetition works, when Southwest came in the average fare went down by $80, Jet Blue will be competing directly with Southwest to Orlando and Ft Lauderdale and we anticipate those fares will go down as well," according to Myers.
Travelers are hoping that Jet Blue will have an impact on the other legacy carriers at Albany International as well, "I've just heard that it's a reasonable airline and I'm anxious to see the difference in prices," says Marilyn Salamone of Schenectady.
Myers says the airport is hoping Jet Blue will add more destinations and non-stop flights; It's offering incentives for either that carrier or another to do so, "we have an incentive on the table that's worth about a million and a half dollars to an airline that wants to come in and start a new flight or a new airline that wants to start operations here," he says.