Direct flights to LAX a boon for region's film industry

Feb 2, 2016

The first non-stop commercial flights between Buffalo and Los Angeles will be in the air soon. Buffalo-Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark says it's an "amazing development" for the region's growing film industry.

Clark says many of the people the Film Commission helps bring to the area are from California.

Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

"Sometimes it's movie stars and actors and so forth. Other times it's directors, producers. Sometimes it's a specialty crew that would come out of Los Angeles. That'll be a huge huge help because very often we hear that the trip to Buffalo is often weary," said Clark.   

Clark says industry spending in the Buffalo area more than doubled last year to nearly $16.5 million. He says he shared JetBlue's announcement right away with his contacts in the film industry and Clark got immediate feedback. 

"The first guy, within minutes, was actor Bill Fichtner, who is excited about maybe doing a movie here in the next year or so. That's going to play a lot into his budget," said Clark.

"I've learned over the years that good transportation is key to bringing jobs here," said Sen. Charles Schumer in making the announcement Monday.

Buffalo-Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher-Cohen says many local companies have customers in California and want to do business there.

"It has, until now, been really onerous. It has been a huge commitment of time to try to get out to the West Coast. I think for existing businesses, they're going to be rejoicing," said Gallagher-Cohen.

JetBlue says its direct flights between Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and LAX. will take about five hours. The new service is set to begin June 16.