February 03, 2007

Stewart Deal

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The board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorized a $78.5 million deal to assume a 93-year lease of Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, 60 miles north of the city. "We can turn that sleepy, underutilized facility into a dynamic transportation hub that will allow us to meet the incredible growth and demand for air travel," said the Port Authority's executive director, Anthony Shorris.

The Port Authority, which would explore adding more parking and a new passenger terminal, is expected to take over operations by October, pending the approval of both the Federal Aviation Administration and the state's transportation department......

JetBlue Airways Corp. recently decided it would begin daily nonstop flights to Florida from Stewart. A competitor, AirTran Airways, also has launched service to Georgia and Florida from Newburgh, and has been flying to similar destinations from Westchester County.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer gave the Stewart plan a high profile by mentioning it in his first State of the State speech earlier this month, and he reiterated his support for expanding the airport in a statement this week.

"We will continue to make major investments at JFK, Newark and LaGuardia, but eventually we are simply going to run out of room. Stewart International Airport will provide much-needed relief for our three major airports, greatly reduce delays and help us prepare for inevitable population and passenger growth," the governor said.

Unlike other New York airports, hemmed in by thick urban development, Stewart has plenty of room to expand. It sits on 2,200 acres, compared to LaGuardia's 680, Kennedy's 4,930 and Newark's 2,000.

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