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New airline to start flights between Rochester and Florida, Arizona

Elite Airways starts the services in July.

A new entrant to the Minnesota airline market will offer flights between Rochester and airports in Florida and Arizona.

Twice-weekly direct routes will operate between Rochester International Airport and Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona, it was announced on Thursday.

The flights will connect the Mayo Clinic in Rochester with its campuses in Phoenix and St. Augustine, with services scheduled to start on July 19 and 20.

They're being operated by small airline Elite Airways, a company created by former pilots in 2006 which until now had mainly operated seasonal and charter flights along the East Coast.

It will increase the available routes from Rochester airport to five. Currently, you can only fly to Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta from there.

Flights between Rochester and Florida will be on Mondays and Fridays, while the Rochester to Arizona routes will be on Thursdays and Sundays.

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Who are Elite Airways?

Elite's aim is to "move away from ... discount and legacy carriers services that were focused more on the bottom line than a quality travel experience."

This quality travel experience is why the Rochester flights will be pricey, starting at $299 each way.

"We believe the service will be embraced by business and leisure travelers, as well as Mayo Clinic staff, patients and families looking to travel between campuses," said Elite Airways President John Pearsall.

The routes will be operated by a fleet of Bombardier CRJ-200 and CRJ-700 jets, which can carry 40-50 and up to 75 passengers respectively.

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