Non-stop to New York 'opens door' for Tucson

Published: May. 23, 2016 at 8:56 PM MST|Updated: May. 23, 2016 at 11:05 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - American Airlines announced on Monday, May 23, it will begin non-stop service between Tucson and New York beginning Oct. 7.

The flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport will run seven days a week and leave at 7:57 a.m. It is scheduled to arrive in New York at 4 p.m. The timing makes it reasonable for Tucson business.

Visit Tucson CEO Brent DeRaad said Tucson has lost about $15 million in the past three years because New York businesses did not see Tucson as a viable alternative for meetings and conventions because it lacked convenient transportation.

"This opens the door for us," DeRaad said.

But it's not just business that benefits. Tucson is also a favorite destination for tourists from New York.

DeRaad plans to spend $200,000 letting people in New York know about the direct flight.

"For us, it seems like a lot," he said. "But New York is the most expensive media market in the world."

To stretch the advertising dollar, Visit Tucson plans to partner with hotels and resorts so that when "October hits and you're in New York and a frequent flyer, you'll know about Tucson."

For Tucson in general, it's another win in what has been a fantastic May.

Caterpillar, Inc. announced it will move its surface mining headquarters to Tucson and bring with it 600 jobs.

READ MORE: Caterpillar move seen as 'shot in arm' for Tucson economy

Comcast opened a tech center on Oracle Road on May 5 which added 1,100 jobs.

And the Arizona Coyotes announced they will bring professional hockey to the Tucson Convention Center.

READ MORE: Tucson's new hockey team to start playing in October

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said this is what the city needs to help recover from the 2008 Great Recession.

Many medium-sized urban areas have been slow to recover, but this may be a sign Tucson has turned the corner.

"A lot of people laid the groundwork over the last couple of years to make this happen," Rothschild said.

It took Tucson business leaders nearly a year and a half to convince American Airlines the flight is viable and to put together an incentive package which meets their needs.  American Airlines qualifies for a $550,000 incentive package, according to David Hatfield, with the Tucson Airport Authority.

It's estimated there are nearly 300 people a day who fly from Tucson to New York.

The Boeing 737-800 which will make the trip, holds 160 passengers. American Airlines is hoping for 85 percent occupancy.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.