The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is trying to wake up New York Stewart International Airport with new airlines and new options.
The dominant sound in the airport Tuesday morning was that of a mechanical sweeper. The flight board was empty and the baggage conveyer belts were still.
It has not always been this quiet, coach bus driver and instructor Harold Sumter said in an empty arrivals terminal ahead of an announcement from Port Authority leaders.
“We used to carry a lot of people every day,” he said. “It’s not like that now.”
What You Need To Know
- Port Authority leaders announced Tuesday that new, low-cost carrier PLAY Airlines will begin daily flights between Stewart and Reykjavik, Iceland
- From Iceland, travelers will be able to connect to several other European cities
- The airport's atmosphere may change this summer with the sure arrival of PLAY and possible new service to Oslo via Norse Atlantic Airways
County leaders and the Port Authority blame forces beyond their control for the failures of previous airlines.
Boeing 737 MAX planes were grounded worldwide in 2019, shocking the industry and eventually leading to the bankruptcy of Norwegian Airways, Stewart’s only international carrier at the time.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, both American and JetBlue suspended service, leaving two airlines that provide regular service mainly to Florida.
Now, after some time to adapt and to build a new arrivals center, the Port Authority is promoting new international service this summer out of Stewart.
“Every now and then, you’d get a tip or two. It’s a short run to the city — about an hour and a half,” Sumter said. “So it’ll be a good thing to get it back up and running again.”
Port Authority leaders announced Tuesday that new, low-cost carrier PLAY Airlines will begin daily flights between Stewart and Reykjavik, Iceland. From Iceland, travelers will be able to connect to several other European cities.
“These are major European cities,” PLAY Airlines CEO Birgir Jonsson said during a videochat from his home in Iceland Tuesday. “Copenhagen, London, Brussels. We kind of expect the connection between Stewart and Dublin will be the most popular one in this case.”
The Port Authority says PLAY will be offering the service through October, and then may add flights if successful.
Orange County Tourism Director Amanda Dana was especially excited about how PLAY may make it easier to get to Legoland in nearby Goshen.
Dana said that according to pre-pandemic data, about 30% of Legoland's guests come from outside the United States.
“It’s a great international carrier to come back in and connect us to Europe,” she said. “It’s just what we need. We have a proven track record of filling those planes. I can’t wait to see what we can do with PLAY.”
The airport's atmosphere may change this summer with the sure arrival of PLAY, and possible new service to Oslo via Norse Atlantic Airways.
Though Norse has announced it would offer flights through Stewart, Port Authority officials said there is not an agreement in place.