Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last week announced three major Port Authority of New York and New Jersey initiatives to re-energize New York Stewart International Airport and the surrounding region as air travel returns from unprecedented lows resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Port Authority unveiled a new air carrier incentive program, a new airport marketing campaign to attract interest from across the airline industry to SWF, and the completion of a new Federal Inspection Station first announced by Governor Cuomo in January 2018. Given its location in the heart of the Mid-Hudson region and its access to New York City, New York Stewart is uniquely positioned to serve important segments of air travelers, including international business and leisure travelers, especially as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed across New York and beyond.
“As we continue battling the COVID-19 pandemic on the ground, New York State is looking ahead to a post-pandemic future with increasing opportunities for travel, tourism, and economic development,” Cuomo said. “New York Stewart International Airport is an important gateway to the Mid-Hudson region, and these incentives, marketing and construction initiatives will market the airport to international and domestic travelers as we begin to see increases in passenger volume.”
The announcement coincides with the reopening of major destinations in the Mid-Hudson region with a goal to help jump-start tourism and air travel. The Port Authority initiated a series of dozens of meetings with domestic and international air carriers, to discuss potential routes and lay out the incentive program. In addition, the Port Authority plans to work with local attractions such as the Storm King Art Center, Resorts World Catskills, Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, and the LEGOLAND New York Resort and others to explore potential partnerships to grow tourism and air service in the region.
As part of the program to relaunch New York Stewart, the Governor also announced the completion of a new, state-of-the-art Federal Inspection Station to be operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The FIS meets modern standards and offers an improved customer experience as the number of airlines and flights routed and operated through SWF increases. These airport enhancements are the part of the agency’s commitment to a five-point strategic plan outlined for New York Stewart by the Port Authority in 2019.
New Air Carrier Incentive Program
To encourage and expand air service at New York Stewart, the Port Authority will implement an updated Air Carrier Incentive Program for SWF. The program will offer airport fee-waivers and marketing support for 24 months for air carriers that begin new nonstop air service to a destination not currently served from New York Stewart. New York Stewart’s incentive program will reduce risk and defer startup costs for air carriers. It is designed to attract prospective domestic and international air carriers as demand in the region recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
New York Stewart has seen the important green shoots of initial new flights. American Airlines recently extended service for travelers between the Hudson Valley and the carrier’s Philadelphia, PA. hub. New service to Savannah, GA. and Destin, FL. beginning early this summer will grow Allegiant Air’s network to six nonstop destinations from SWF including Myrtle Beach, SC, Punta Gorda, Orlando and St. Pete-Clearwater, FL. The Air Carrier Incentive Program seeks to build on this momentum as air travel picks up, with a robust focus on the international market.
New Marketing Campaign for New York Stewart International
This summer, the Port Authority will also launch an integrated business-to-business marketing campaign targeting airline executives and route managers.
The campaign visuals will include a new logo that conveys the airport’s location in the heart of New York apple country and its proximity to New York City. This location makes New York Stewart a prime contender for low-cost travel options, and has key potential to serve individuals, especially for those who relocated to suburban and rural areas during the pandemic. The campaign will feature local attractions and will also highlight the new FIS, which will improve operations for international flights.
New Federal Inspection Station
In 2018, Cuomo called for the modernization and expansion of New York Stewart in his ‘State of the State’ address.
Since then, New York State and the Port Authority have invested $37 million in the airport, including funds to support the construction of a permanent FIS that meets modern, 21st century federal standards. The new facility adds 20,000 square feet of space to the existing terminal. That additional space will allow CBP to efficiently screen up to 400 international passengers per hour. As with all new Port Authority construction, the FIS incorporates the agency’s Sustainable Building Guidelines. With the FIS now in place, the Port Authority has completed the major construction work necessary to support new air service.
“Orange County and the Hudson Valley are year-round destinations, and LEGOLAND’s planned opening in just weeks will bring more new visitors to our area,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said. “Likewise, Hudson Valley and New York City area residents who want affordable and accessible flights to places such as Florida, Hilton Head/Savannah and Philadelphia can park and fly from Stewart with no hassle. Stewart is easy to fly in and out of and I look forward to seeing it grow once again.”
Town of Newburgh Supervisor Gil Piaquadio said, “I thank Governor Cuomo for implementing ideas and strategies to improve Stewart International Airport. When the Airport does well the entire area benefits.”