The Port Authority's Board of Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to expand Stewart International Airport, a $30 million investment that will see the addition of a permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection area to handle the airport's influx of international travel.
Located in New Windsor, NY, about 60 miles north of Manhattan, Stewart International Airport's passenger volumes rose 62 percent in 2017, with 450,000 commercial airline passengers using the airport, an increase of 175,000 passengers over 2016. With the addition of service from Norwegian Airways to Europe last year, 141,000 international fliers came through the airport.
The expansion will add approximately 20,000 square feet of space to the airport's terminal, allowing concurrent domestic and international arrivals. While Stewart currently lacks a dedicated area to process international flights, the new, permanent inspection area will be capable of screening 400 international passengers hourly.
"Economic development is one of the Port Authority's fundamental missions and expanding Stewart International Airport to handle more international customers does exactly that," said Kevin O'Toole, chairman of the Port Authority's Board of Commissioners. "Today's approval further underscores our commitment to giving customers at Stewart a higher level of service, while providing the opportunity for further growth and tourism in the Mid-Hudson Valley and New York metropolitan region."
The board also approved giving its Executive Director authority to proceed with the airport's rebranding. While a new name has not been chosen, Port Authority sketches reportedly carried the name "New York International at Stewart Field," which drew the rebuke of Stewart Airport Commission chairman Louis Heimbach.
"Stewart Airport is bigger than LaGuardia and Newark combined," Heimbach said. "It has one of the longest runways in your system so I think that would be a disservice to call it 'field' and I don't think people from Europe or coming any place in the civilized world wants to land in a field these days."
In his State-of-the-State address in January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the Port Authority to approve investment in a permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection facility at the airport to increase access to the region's destinations and make the airport more attractive for international travel.
The Port Authority said that future enhancements to the airport will include a solar-panel-covered carport with 450 spaces, generating 1.9 megawatts of power daily to offset the expanded terminal's energy costs.