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Syracuse airport hopes free parking will boost travelers

via Flickr

There are several changes to the Syracuse Airport this fall ahead of the busy travel season, with hopes of increasing passenger numbers and ease of travel.

Hancock International Airport made national headlines when it installed sophisticated pod doors to enhance security when passengers left the terminal. Now, it’s one of the last airports to install a full body imaging machine at the TSA checkpoint. It went operational last week.

Outside the airport, a temporary waiting lot for people picking up travelers is almost done, which has been dubbed a "cell phone lot." It replaces the observation lot.

This will spare drivers from having to constantly loop the terminal, but they'll have to stay with their vehicles. The airport hopes this will cut down on drivers parking illegally in front of the doors.

"We were seeing a trend of cars double or triple parking," said Christina Callahan, Executive Director of the Airport. "And that’s a concern for pedestrians that need to cross the roadway to get over to the parking garage."

And for the holiday travel times, the airport is offering a discount on parking. Buy three days, get two free. Callahan says they hope it will attract more travelers.

"All things being equal, one airport is just as close as Syracuse," she said, "so if I can get two days of free parking, then why not choose Syracuse?"

Also new: Allegiant Air is adding twice-weekly flights to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, beginning in February, just in time for school vacations. The new, low cost flyer already shuttles travelers to Myrtle Beach and Tampa, Florida from Syracuse.

Callahan says they hope more leisure flights will attract more Canadians flying out of Hancock.

"We are a heavy leisure market," said Callahan. "And the Florida destinations, low cost, direct service to Florida is always very popular."

Ticket sales and passenger volume has been steady through the year, Callahan said. And she's optimistic about dropping fuel costs and ticket prices.

The airport will be doing a live question and answer session on Twitter Tuesday, Nov. 25 to go over the changes before the bump in travel starts.

CORRECTION: The broadcast and original web versions of this story state Ms. Callahan's title as Commissioner of Aviation. She is now the Executive Director of the Airport under the public benefit authority that took over airport operations on Jan. 1.