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      Could Griffiss Airport compete with Hancock for flights to Orlando?

      Allegiant Air may offer flights between Rome New York and Orlando Florida according to Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.

      W ith no main terminal to speak of , G riffiss International Airport still resembles the Air Force base it once was. Now that it's under the control of Oneida County, officials want to transform the former military installation into a commercial airport. Those efforts recently got a boost when Oneida County Executive Picente announced that he's in talks with Allegiant air about offering direct air service to Orlando.

      S teven DiMio who heads Mohawk Valley Edge, a development agency at Griffiss hopes Allegiant Air could offer other destinations as well. "If Allegiant would come in and provide service to certain vacation spots," he says, "the County would look favorably as that being good for business, but more importantly for more use of the airport. People want to see more airplanes coming and going."

      If O neida County lands the contract with Allegiant, given its location, Griffiss Airport could take business away from Albany Airport to the east and Syracuse's Hancock International to the west. Hancock Airport Commissioner Christine Reale said: "I'm not surprised other airports are looking to expand service. South Florida is a huge market." Reale says she too is negotiating with airlines to provide flights to Florida besides Jet Blue but "we're not ready to give details."

      W hile Oneida County Executive Picente says Rome to Orlando service could begin this fall, Allegiant Spokesperson Jennifer Wheeler said, "There is nothing definitive" about offering new service at Griffiss International.