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Hertz pulls cars from Adirondack Regional Airport

SARANAC LAKE — After Hertz pulled all of its rental cars from its franchise at the Adirondack Regional Airport last month, Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch is scrambling to fill the hole with another company.

Hurwitch said the car rental company removed its cars from its franchises to fill a vehicle shortage in its corporate locations.

Hertz struggled though the coronavirus pandemic, entering bankruptcy last year and selling off around 200,000 of its 650,000 vehicles. Though the company has recovered, it still does not have a lot of vehicles and is cutting back on its franchises.

“I don’t think Hertz is ever coming back,” Hurwitch said.

Hurwitch said the airport, which is owned by the town of Harrietstown, has been working with Avis in Plattsburgh and Vermont Rental Cars to temporarily get vehicles.

Right now, these companies are delivering the cars to the airport and charging fees for drop-offs and pick-ups. He said it takes two employees to deliver and pick-up each car; that’s several hours of labor driving each way.

“The people who are paying it now are primarily the private aircraft owners,” Hurwitch said.

He said some customers flying in on Cape Air are paying it, too, but most are using Uber or Polar Express Transportation in Saranac Lake to get to their lodging.

One customer in a private plane opted to fly into Plattsburgh and rent a car there, he said.

Hurwitch said these fees make it harder for local people to rent cars.

“Without Hertz there, the locals aren’t going to pay the drop-off and pick-up fees,” he said.

Hurwitch said he is trying to get one of these companies to base some of their cars at the Adirondack Regional Airport, so the price is more reasonable for customers. He said they are “interested,” but not committing to that yet.