Luncheon: Regional Airport Capacity: Adding Stewart to the Mix

Remarks by William R. DeCota, Director, Aviation Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

As air passenger levels continued to rise, the Port Authority became increasingly concerned about congestion at the region’s three major airports and the ability to handle future demand. The Port Authority projects that its airports will need to handle 125 million passengers in 2015 and 150 million by 2025. They expect to spend billions of dollars to meet the demand with carefully timed investments to maximize the limited horizontal geography of four highly demanded airports that together only comprise 8,500 acres of land. There are a number of policies and procedures that are also being put in place to address demand. Even with proactive management and timely investments, however, the fact is that the regional airport system will likely experience continuing aircraft delays, more days that seem like peak travel, and deteriorating levels of service during peak periods. So, after a comprehensive study of several regional airports that could serve as a fourth major facility, the Port Authority, earlier this year, was authorized to assume control of Stewart International Airport (SWF) in Newburgh, N.Y., located about 70 miles north of Manhattan. Mr. DeCota will discuss the hurdles that were overcome to allow the agency to acquire a facility outside of its jurisdiction, and the strategic importance of this acquisition. He will focus on investments that will be made to improve access to SWF, enhance traffic growth, reduce airport delays, and contribute to the vitality of the region’s economic health. By playing a significant role in an integrated airport system, Stewart Airport will be transformed from an underutilized facility into a dynamic transportation hub.

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