$34 Million Economic ‘Shot In The Arm” Expected to Fast-Track Stewart’s Future
By Edie Johnson
New Windsor’s Stewart International Airport got a giant $34 M economic ‘shot in the arm’ earlier this month via a plan from Governor Cuomo’s office for a nearly 20,000 sq. ft expansion, , and another last week when the New York Port Authority received approval to give it a new name , “New York International at Stewart Field.” The name is not without controversy, with the land having been donated with the stipulation that the Stewart family name remain with it, and the family has stated they plan to sue over the change. Officials feel that the name change will make it more recognizable as part of the greater New York area, and this could contribute to lessening congestion at LaGuardia, JFK and Newark. The end game is to have more domestic direct flights at lower cost in addition to its growing recognition as a great option for international travel.
Governor Cuomo’s office introduced his main goal of the expansion, to create an International Customs Inspection and Area with the capacity to inspect 400 travelers per hour. Recent low-cost flight deals have led to doubling of international flights, including a number of flights to Ireland and Sweden at prices less than $100. The days of cost-prohibitive international travel is over for many wanting to see the rest of the world. The new upgraded facility will include a 450-space carport equipped with a $7 M solar installation that will help fuel the facility’s electric needs. Of the $34 M project, about $27 M will be publicly funded. The rooftop solar will be funded by a private solar company.
With a sparkling clean and attractive terminal, some new jobs for local residents, and a push by county officials to grow tourism in the Newburgh area with its new Tourism Department as a major economic engine, there will be other growth benefits. Travelers within the US have had issues finding direct low-cost flights from Stewart in the past. But in a message from County Executive Steve Neuhaus’ office his spokesperson relayed “The County is optimistic that Stewart will continue to add both domestic and international flights, and recent trends suggest that it will. Norwegian has added a second flight to Dublin at a cost of about $100 each way. Allegiant is adding new service to Sanford/Orlando and Punta Gorda, both in Florida, for less than $100 each way. About one-third of the airport’s 450,000 passengers last year were international. New Windsor has done a wonderful job planning for Stewart’s expansion, which is a win-win for everybody.”