State Assembly passes airport authority at Hancock Airport; cheaper fares coming?

A Syracuse airport authority is closer to getting off the ground and it could bring cheaper air fares to Central New York.

Lauren Crosby says she flies out of Hancock often, and is on board with the change if it helps her stick to her budget. "It's been really difficult to find flights," said Crosby. "I think it's a good idea."

On Monday, the State Assembly passed legislation to form an authority to oversee Hancock Airport. Right now, it's run by the city. Syracuse is the only upstate airport that is not run by an authority. If passed, an 11-member board would oversee the operation, most of them would be appointed by Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner but area towns and the county would have a say too.

Airport officials say the authority will give the board power to bargain with airlines, focus on cutting costs and increasing revenues and also make the airport more competitive.

"It's always been a little more expensive to fly out of Syracuse," said Dave Eno. "I drove to Buffalo a couple of times to get a flight."

The State Senate passed the same legislation in May. It now goes to Governor Cuomo for his signature.

An agreement between the city and the airport authority would need to be hammered out and approved by the Common Council, according to Aviation Commissioner Christina Reale. The deal would need to be approved by the FAA, and could take 12 to 18 months.