The Port Authority, which took over control of Stewart Airport, 90 miles from New York City, is talking with domestic and foreign carriers in attempts to convince them to serve the airport.
Stewart, aside from its position in proximity to New York City, has the location to potentially serve passengers who otherwise would make the trip to JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark, all prone to delays. The Port Authority has identified 28 unserved or underserved markets for Stewart and is pitching them to the airlines.
International charters could begin as early as this year. To assist in the creation of international service, they have received federal approval to expand the main level to create a small customs facility for inbound flights. The customs stations would be capable of serving one flight at a time, and would be temporary, but could be replaced by a permanent facility if demand warrants.
Many airlines use Stewart for weather diversions already, including a Virgin America flight which recently made headlines. The presence of a customs clearance facility could permit airlines to divert international flights to the airport more easily in an emergency, as well as encourage new service.
The airport is currently served by JetBlue with once daily service to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale; Delta with one to Atlanta and three to Detroit; and U.S. Airways has three or four to Philadelphia. The Port Authority is discussing expansion of services with these airlines as well. A recent agreement with JetBlue for cargo service out of the airport has been mutually productive.
U.S. Secretary of State Ray LaHood visited Stewart Airport, the guest of Representative John Hall(D-Dover Plains), and said that the airport has a bright future as the recession ends, and pledged federal support for expansion at the airport.