State officials have unveiled a $5 million grant program to lure more airlines to Atlantic City International Airport, following the highly touted launch of service at the facility this month by United Airlines.
At a board meeting this week, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority considered and approved the funding for its so-called Tourism Market Expansion Project, according to a news release. The state agency said it will use the funds “as a risk abatement incentive for airlines now considering service” from the airport, serving as a competitive grant opportunity for providers.
The move comes after the April 1 launch of United’s service connecting Atlantic City to Chicago and Houston, the airline’s two largest U.S. hubs. The service represents a major bump for the resort town’s efforts boosts its tourism profile and become less dependent on its ever-dwindling gaming revenues.
At the Tuesday board meeting, CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said the grant will reduce the risk an airline would assume in adding routes to the airport, according to The Press of Atlantic City. The authority would agree to “buy” a certain number of unfilled seats on each flight for a certain time period, and incentives will be performance based, the report said.
“Depending on the number of routes they might be looking to add, we could be looking at a couple of million to one carrier,” Palmieri told the newspaper.
Soon after United launched its service, CRDA and the nonprofit Atlantic City Alliance launched a $1 million marketing campaignaimed at attracting tourists from those cities.
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