In an effort to further his efforts to expand and improve upon transportation infrastructure throughout the state, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week proposed investing $34 million in Stewart International Airport (SWF) in Orange County.
The investment would modernize the airport and improve international service, he says.
Cuomo, in his State of the State address, called on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to approve the investment, which he says would increase access to world-class destinations and attractions throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley by supporting the construction of a permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection federal inspection station.
The FIS, which would account for $27 million of the investment by the port authority, would handle both domestic and international flights and improve customer service at the airport. Currently, SWF uses a temporary federal inspection station that requires staff to assemble moveable walls when international passengers arrive to create a sterile area for processing travelers. When in place, the airport’s ability to handle domestic flights is hampered, state officials say.
Constructing a permanent FIS, Cuomo says, would:
- Enable the airport to offer continuous international passenger service by building a modern facility that meets government requirements
- Add nearly 20,000 square feet to the existing terminal
- Improve traveler experience by allowing concurrent domestic and international flight arrivals
- Support screening of up to 400 international passengers per hour
Cuomo announced in February 2017 a partnership between SWF and Norwegian Air, through which the airline began offering trans-Atlantic flights with service to Belfast, Northern Ireland; Dublin and Shannon, Ireland; and Edinburgh, Scotland. he expects will generate
Additionally, Cuomo suggests changing SWF’s name to New York International at Stewart Field, a move he says would improve the airport’s name recognition by giving it a moniker that better communicates to travelers where it is geographically located.
“By transforming Stewart Airport into a state-of-the-art transportation destination, we are providing an inviting gateway to the region and supercharging an economic engine for the entire Mid-Hudson Valley,” Cuomo says. “This international transportation hub will provide a world-class passenger experience, attract new visitors and businesses, and continue to move the Mid-Hudson Valley forward.”
The port authority, in a statement, expressed agreement with Cuomo’s proposal and indicated its board would likely vote on the funding at its February board meeting.
“The port authority has long championed investments at the airport to help attract both domestic and international passengers and spur the region’s economic growth,” reads the statement. “The governor’s call to build a permanent federal inspection station embodies the port’s commitment to drive growth at Stewart. Changing the airport’s name to New York International at Stewart Field will further enhance the airport’s ability to attract more fliers.”