Flights From LVIA May Soon Fly South Of The Border

HANOVER TWP., Pa. - Lehigh Valley International Airport near Allentown could soon be adding more clout to the "international" part of its name.

A deal in the works would make Mexico the airport's newest destination.

Interim director Lawrence Krauter said the airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County is negotiating with Apple Vacations to bring Mexico to the departure board this winter.

But first, the details have to be ironed out, like where to put Customs.

Krauter said there's space in old the terminal, but the cost and a temporary plan would have to be developed.

"There are a number of minor floor plan changes that we would need to make partitioning off areas to provide for certain activities that have to be isolated from one another and then some baggage processing capabilities," said Krauter.

The airport is already lining up customs and TSA officials to come in from Philly to accommodate the potential expansion.

News of the negotiations comes at a time when the airport board is trying to figure out how to pay a $25 million lawsuit award to a developer whose land was seized by the airport for expansion but never used.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski said the Apple deal would open a new realm of business and revenue for LVIA.

But with the expansion comes more traffic and the problem of figuring out how to pay for facilities to keep up with the demand.

"We'll take that problem any day of the week because that would show that this area is growing and thriving and this airport is growing and thriving," said Pawlowski.

Right now, LVIA flies internationally to Toronto.

There's no word on what airline would handle the flights, but Apple works with Allegiant in other markets.

If the deal goes through, you can expect flights to take off just in time for the winter travel season.

In the meantime, Pawlowski has some big plans in mind for the Queen City Airport.

He said he'd like to see the land sold.

He said Allentown doesn't need the airport and that it rarely turns a profit.

Pawlowski said the planes at Queen City could easily be moved to LVIA.

And he said redeveloping the site could create up to $10 million in revenue and 2,000 jobs.

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