New York’s three major airports, JFK, Newark-Liberty, and La Guardia, have served the metropolitan area for years. However, the Big 3 are buckling under the volume of passengers they are each serving. It’s time for the New York Metropolitan area to add another option to the mix. Fortunately for us, the heavy lifting has already been done.
In 2007, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) took control of Stewart International Airport in Orange County. The Port Authority is the government agency responsible for all three of the major airports in the region. The people running that agency understand better than anyone the immediate needs of the aviation sector in our region.
The 20 million people living in metro New York today exist in the midst of some of the most active air traffic on the planet. The passenger figures flying in and out of the tri-state are colossal:
JFK 59 million passengers
Newark 43 million passengers
La Guardia 30 million passengers
The plan is for Stewart International Airport to expand as the region continues to grow over the next several decades. Although Stewart International is only handling half a million passengers as of 2018, the airport's present capacity is 2.5 million passengers, which it will soon outgrow.
The Port Authority intends to invest $11 billion in aviation improvements between now and 2028. A considerable portion of that investment will go towards expanding the capacity of the terminal at Stewart International. The Port Authority's goal for Stewart is to increase its passenger volume by 1 million travelers per year for each of the next ten years. The end game is for Stewart to eventually handle as much air traffic as any of the other three major area airports, if not more.
On the way to that objective, a direct rail link to Manhattan is a necessary part of the plan. The rail link will either connect with Grand Central Station or Penn Station. A conventional commuter train could move passengers up and down the Hudson River Valley to and from Stewart Airport in an hour and a half. That’s approximately 30 minutes more than it takes a taxi from midtown to reach JFK.
What it all means is more convenience for the traveling public. Tourist, business people, and New Yorkers entering and leaving New York City will have a much more enjoyable experience. Flying from Stewart International in the future, there will be no more anxiety-producing traffic on the Van Wyck or the New Jersey Turnpike for fear of missing your flight.
So, today’s day trip is not to a place. Instead, it is a mind flight to a time in the not too distant future when congestion at the metro New York airports will be a thing of the past. I have little doubt that Stewart Airport will eventually achieve its full potential as the tri-state area’s fourth major airport. I hope to fly out of Stewart one day. You and I may even be on the same flight seated beside one another. If so I’ll let you have the window seat.
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