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Hagerstown-BWI flights begin March 24

February 03, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

Tickets went on sale Tuesday for flights between Hagerstown and Baltimore in a new service from Hagerstown Regional Airport, airport and airline officials said.

Cape Air will begin the flights between Hagerstown and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on March 24, said Greg Larsen, business development manager for Hagerstown Regional Airport.

There will be four flights each way per day, seven days a week, Larsen said. Flights will depart Hagerstown for Baltimore at 5:30 and 10 a.m., and 3:15 and 5:57 p.m., and will depart Baltimore for Hagerstown at 9 and 11:05 a.m., and 4:20 and 7:50 p.m.

Ticket prices before taxes and fees range from $39 to $67 each way, with an average of about $50, said Andrew Bonney, vice president of planning for Cape Air. The $39 rate is a special for passengers who return the same day, Bonney said. Within each flight, the first seats sold will be the least expensive and the last seats sold will be the most expensive, he said.

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Passengers may book seats through any travel agent or by calling Cape Air reservations at 1-800-352-0714, Bonney said.

Seats will soon be available at www.flycapeair.com and through booking Web sites such as Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity, but it might take a few days for online scheduling tools to be updated with the new route, Bonney said.

Cape Air will use nine-seat Cessna 402 planes, Larsen said.

Bundled tickets and baggage transfer service will be available for passengers connecting to flights on American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and U.S. Airways, Larsen said.

Parking is free at Hagerstown Regional Airport and passengers transferring to other flights at BWI will not have to go through security at BWI, Larsen said.

The boarding process in Hagerstown should be quick and the flight will take about 30 minutes, Larsen said.

Airport officials expect the service will be most popular with business travelers, Larsen said. The 5:30 a.m. departure was designed so business travelers can be in virtually any airport east of the Mississippi by 9 a.m., and the 7:50 p.m. return from Baltimore was designed so they can return on the same day, he said.

"We think this is going to catch on very quickly," Larsen said. "If you can do this for 50 bucks, particularly if you're traveling by yourself, it doesn't take much to justify."

Bonney said Cape Air's market research showed a demand for the service in Hagerstown.

"Everything makes it seem like this is going to be a great fit for Cape Air," he said.

The service from Cape Air is being subsidized through the U.S. Department of Transportation's Essential Air Service Program, which was designed to ensure small communities remain connected to larger airports, Larsen said.

Cape Air is receiving $1.2 million a year from the EAS for serving Hagerstown, Bonney said.

Hagerstown Regional Airport is also served by Allegiant Air, which has flown between Hagerstown and Orlando, Fla., since November without a subsidy.

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