Got flights scheduled in or out of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport this July? Don’t be so sure. A runway resurfacing project will force the airport to close for two weeks.
“The runway has not been resurfaced in 22 years, and we want to create the safest, best experience for you,” said airport officials in a statement this afternoon.
The project will require the airport to be closed from 8pm on July 8th until 5am on July 23rd. “We have a team that will be working 24 hours a day to resurface the runway” during that time, officials say.
Larger airports with multiple runways can operate with one while working on another, or sometimes paving can be done in phases, using overnight hours and keeping the runway operational during the day. “That would have taken 55 days and planes would be taking off from a runway that was under construction,” airport director Mike Hall tells us, though. “We felt that, in our travelers’ best interests and for safety reasons, we should just close the runway for two weeks and finish the project as safely and quickly as possible,” Hall says.
“It’s unfortunate that they have to close the runway while they do it,” says local private pilot and flight instructor David Kornreich, “but I’m sure they wouldn’t do it unless that was the only way.” Kornreich adds that he’s for the project. “The tarmac is old and full of potholes.”
For travelers who don’t want to drive to Syracuse, Ithaca Airline Limousine is offering a discounted $100 round-trip fare for ground transportation between Ithaca and Syracuse, or a $75 one-way fare. The regular prices are $130 round trip and $85 one way. Reach IAL at 607-273-3030 to make a reservation.
Airlines are not required to tell travelers about flight schedule changes — including cancellations — until 90 days before, so travelers who currently have flights booked during the affected time may not hear for another few weeks that their plans are changing whether they like it or not. In fact, airlines are still accepting flight reservations for flights in and out of Ithaca during the two weeks the airport will be closed. “We did contact all of the airlines months ago, and we do hope they are notifying all of their passengers on the affected flights,” says Hall.
We suggest not waiting — call your airline immediately to ask about options for rebooking flights via different airports or on different dates. Otherwise, flights may simply be canceled without warning.
There should be no fees for changing flights under the circumstances. “If you encounter any difficulty, please let us know, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 607-257-0456,” say airport officials. “Although we are not formally part of the any airline organization, we may be able to effectively advocate on your behalf.”
Hall adds, “We apologize for any inconvenience this causes during that two week period, and we will be back up and running as quickly as possible.”