International passenger service to and from Stewart seemed to be gaining a foothold through service provided by Norwegian Air. That airline recently stopped its flights between Stewart and foreign destinations following the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet.
The cornerstone of the five-point plan is the formation of a new partnership to operate the airport. Groupe Aeroports de Paris (Groupe ADP), which in 2018 was operating 25 airports including those serving Paris, and the company currently managing Stewart, AvPORTS Management, are being brought together to form Future Stewart Partners. The new entity would take over the airport’s operation under a 10-year management agreement.
AvPORTS manages other commercial airports in addition to Stewart: Westchester County Airport; Albany International Airport; and Tweed New Haven Regional Airport in Connecticut. It manages the Teterboro, New Jersey, general aviation airport as well as Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Long Island, and the Gary/Chicago International Airport in Indiana.
In addition to airport management, Groupe ADP also designs airports. Among the countries where it has worked are Chile, China, Croatia, Nepal, Kenya, Jordan and the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority, said, “This five-point strategic plan builds on the Port Authority’s commitment to modern facilities and improved customer service and leverages Stewart’s ease of access to New York City, as well as Hudson Valley attractions such as Woodbury Common and Legoland, opening next spring, that are popular among U.S. and international visitors.”
The Port Authority pointed to Norwegian’s two-year run at Stewart from 2017 until the 737 MAX grounding. It said an additional 600,000 international passengers traveled through the airport for Norwegian Air flights.
Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole characterized Stewart as having “a unique international capability, market positioning ad-proven visibility as a low-cost alternative for the New York and New Jersey metropolitan region.” A new facility for the federal government to conduct customs and immigration inspections is scheduled to be completed at Stewart next year.
Specific points in the new plan include:
- Modernizing the air carrier incentive program to attract and retain new carriers, both international and domestic, and expand service to new markets;
- Leveraging partnerships with regional and state agencies along with working with tourism and trade organizations to promote Stewart as a driver of economic activity;
- Hiring an experienced marketing firm to increase Stewart’s visibility both internationally and in the Hudson Valley region and to strengthen the airport’s brand;
- Developing a joint marketing strategy with key businesses and attractions in the Hudson Valley to promote the airport;
- Carrying through in entering the agreement with Future Stewart Partners to include an expanded scope for building a modern concession program and collaboration with the Port Authority for attracting new air service to Stewart.
The CEO of AvPORTS, Jorge Roberts, and David-Oliver Tarac, managing director of ADP International Americas, jointly commented, “AvPORTS and Groupe ADP are excited to work with the Port Authority to elevate Stewart to a world-class airport that will bring greater air travel options and increased economic activity to the region.”