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"Stewart is ready for income liftoff"


 
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Stewart is ready for income liftoff
The Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record


STEWART AIRPORT -- They have seen the future at Stewart International
Airport, and it includes more passengers.

How many more?

How about almost 1.5 million passengers a year, about eight times the
181,333 that flew out of Stewart in 2002?

According to a draft of an updated airport master plan, that could be
reality in the year 2022 in an extremely robust market. The plan forecasts
almost $500 million in capital improvements at the airport, including a new
terminal.

Airport officials and their consultants, Clough Harbor & Associates,
outlined the draft plan to airport tenants, local officials and the public
in a series of forums yesterday. The public has until July 29 to submit
written comments on the plan.

Where will these extra passengers come from?

Well, there's the anticipated -- and controversial -- Drury Lane interchange
that will link Interstate 84 and the airport. It's still being fought by
opponents in court and elsewhere, but the master plan assumes it will
eventually be built.

Chuck Seliga, the airport's president and chief operating officer, said that
will make it possible for 1 million more people to reach the airport in an
hour or less.

There's also the potential of an extension of Metro-North's existing Port
Jervis line from the Salisbury Mills station to the airport. That would open
up a direct link to New York City's Grand Central Terminal.

Will they come from so far, given that a chief past criticism of Stewart has
been its high fares?

The plan anticipates Stewart will be able to lure more low-fare carriers,
whose presence will prompt competing airlines to match their fares. Throw in
growth in the international charter market, the plan predicts, and yes,
you'll see your passenger volume grow.

The plan also calls for expanded air cargo and corporate jet facilities, to
be located north of the main runway, and expanded parking facilities,
including a garage on the site of the current parking lot.

A copy of the plan will be in the Newburgh Free Library, 124 Grand St.,
beginning today, and copies should be in Orange County and local government
buildings shortly. Written comments should be sent to Stewart International
Airport, Attention: Administration, 1180 First Street, Building 138, New
Windsor, NY 12553.


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