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"Albany airport to purchase dual loading bridges"


 
Sunday, September 22, 2002

Albany airport to purchase dual loading bridges
The Associated Press


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Albany International Airport will receive $2.3 million
in state funds to install two loading bridges that will let passengers get
on and off Southwest Airlines flights faster, a state official said Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said the money will come from the
state's 2002-03 budget. He hopes the new equipment, which will allow the
airline to operate more efficiently, will encourage Southwest to add new
routes to the airport.

"For the business of airlines and airports, every minute counts," Bruno
said.

Southwest has a dual bridge at terminals in Austin, Texas, and Dallas, its
home base but Albany will be the first airport to have two of the dual
bridges, Bruno said. The new bridges allow passengers to enter or leave an
airplane through two doorways at the same time, reducing the time it takes
to empty and fill seats in the passenger cabin.

"This is a big thing for us," airport chief executive officer John Egan
said. "I think it bodes very, very well for the Capital Region."

Southwest wanted to test the bridges in Albany to see how they worked in the
area's weather conditions before rolling them out to other parts of the
country, spokeswoman Christine Turneabe Connelly said.

Southwest, a low-fare carrier that began service here in May 2000, has 10
departures and 10 arrivals each day and is rivaling US Airways and its
commuter subsidiaries for busiest airline at Albany.

Egan said the airport authority will own the loading bridges and will
negotiate an agreement for Southwest to help cover repair and maintenance
costs.

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