Press Release Article


Date: Jan 25, 2007
Press Release Number: 9-2007

Agency Acts to Relieve Air Traffic Congestion at JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and Teterboro Airports, and Create Capacity for Future Passenger Traffic Growth

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The Port Authority Board of Commissioners today took a major step toward reducing congestion at the metropolitan area airports and preparing for the anticipated growth in air travel by authorizing the purchase of the operating lease at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. The Board’s action allows the agency to purchase the operating lease from National Express Corporation for a total price of $78.5 million.

“Our airports are the gateways to our state and the nation, and they are vital to our economic health,” said New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. “We have to ensure their viability and the Port Authority is the right entity to the move us forward, as it has done successfully for more than half a century. The expansion of Stewart Airport is a critical component of the continued growth of the Hudson Valley. The Port Authority’s action today recognizes that vision and will create a major economic engine for the region with impacts that will reach far beyond the Hudson Valley. Stewart Airport will provide much-needed relief for our three major airports, greatly reduce delays, and help us prepare for inevitable population and passenger growth.”

New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine said, “Acquiring the operating lease at Stewart Airport is a historic initiative that will benefit travelers throughout the region by relieving the tremendous pressure that causes the delays we have all seen at Newark, JFK and LaGuardia. Our airports are a major economic lifeline for the entire region so we must take bold steps to ensure air travel in the region can continue to grow and continue to be an economic engine.”

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “By investing in Stewart, the Port Authority takes another step in returning to its historic mission as a driver of major transportation projects in the region. Our interest in Stewart has been known for some time and today’s action is the result of that long-term vision for tackling the air traffic challenges we face in coming years.”

Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris said, “Through a measured program of significant investments, the Port Authority will be able to transform Stewart Airport. We can turn that sleepy, underutilized facility into a dynamic transportation hub that will, along with our other investments in our regional airport system, allow us to meet the incredible growth in demand for air travel. We expect Stewart will play a significant role in an integrated airport system that helps JFK, Newark and LaGuardia meet the challenges ahead.”

The operating lease for Stewart Airport has 93 years remaining and the Port Authority is expected to take over operations by October 2007. Stewart Airport is a facility with untapped potential, covering 2,400 acres of underutilized land with two large runways that can handle major jet service outside of crowded airspace over JFK, Newark and LaGuardia.

Stewart Airport handled only 300,000 passengers in 2006. By comparison, LaGuardia handled 26 million passengers in 2006 and sits on only 680 acres on land. With timely investments and careful management, the airport can grow, as it is located in the middle of a region experiencing strong economic and population growth that will demand additional air service.

In addition to relieving traffic at the area’s three major airports, Stewart Airport could play a key role in the Port Authority’s effort to reduce to reduce flight movements at Teterboro Airport. With two existing terminals that exclusively service private aircraft operators like the ones that frequent Teterboro, Stewart Airport has enormous potential to relieve congestion at Teterboro.

Stewart Airport is located outside the district in which the Port Authority is authorized to operate under its charter, defined roughly as a 25-mile radius around the Statue of Liberty. In 1967, New York State legislation was passed that would enable the Port Authority to operate Stewart Airport. For the purchase of the operating lease to be completed, the State of New Jersey would need to enact legislation similar to the 1967 New York law.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.

The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.

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