Spirit Airlines Cancels Flights due to Construction

April 19, 2012 Updated Apr 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM EDT

By WKBW News

April 19, 2012 Updated Apr 19, 2012 at 5:29 PM EDT

Niagara Falls (WKBW) While millions of dollars of federal money is coming into the Niagara Falls Airport for runway reconstruction, there won't be any flights going out for at least six weeks.

Spirit Airlines announced on Thursday that it would be cancelling all flights out of the Niagara Falls Airport from May 15th to June 20th, while the main runway is being repaved. Spirit had originally planned to use the smaller cross-wind runway, but an NFTA Spokesperson says after reconsidering, they decided to air on the side of safety, and canceled the flights.

Spirit issued a statement saying "We apologize for the inconvenience that this causes our customers and we look forward to resuming our Niagara Falls service as soon as the runway construction project is complete." Spirit has offered customers a full refund as well as $100 voucher for future travel.

The other carrier at the Niagara Falls Airport, Allegiant Air, decided to not fly at all during the construction and didn't book any flights.

That means no commercial traffic at the airport for 45 days. The NFTA says this was planned and budgeted for, but on the heels of Direct Air's bankruptcy, could a pause in service become permanent for either of their carriers?

"No, they're here for the long haul. They're here for the duration. Same thing with Allegiant," NFTA Director of Public Affairs Douglas Hartmayer said.

Despite the short term inconvenience, the project is expected to have a long term positive impact for both everyday travelers and the Niagara Falls Airbase that shares the runway.

"And that's why these improvements are so important. Not just to us on the commercial side but also to the military, and they are also kicking in part of the funding as well." Hartmayer added.

The runway construction is expected to run until mid-June, when air service will return to the airport.