NEWBURGH, N.Y. Stewart International Airport, located 60 miles north of New York City, has been taken over by the Port Authority, the agency that runs Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.
The agency promises to remake the underutilized Hudson Valley airport into a bustling hub for New York City-area travelers.
Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty are struggling with maximum capacity and chronic flight delays.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials hope that Stewart, about 60 miles north of New York City, will relieve the pressure by luring passengers from the city's northern suburbs and northern New Jersey.
Authority officials believe Stewart could handle 1.5 million passengers annually, up from about 300,000 last year. That would put a small dent in business for the other three big airports, which handled 103 million passengers last year, but officials say it will ease the pressure.
New York officials have been promising a bright future for Stewart since Gov. Nelson Rockefeller announced plans in 1970 to make a "great new airport at Stewart" after the Air Force deactivated a base there. But it has remained under the radar of many travelers.
In announcing Stewart's newest chapter, authority executive director Anthony Shorris stressed that "we know how to make airports work" and promised to make Stewart grow along with the steadily suburbanizing Hudson Valley.
To underline the point, officials announced that Skybus would provide service from Columbus and Piedmont Triad International Airport in early 2008. Authority officials said they are talking with other carriers about Stewart, which currently handles flights from AirTran, Delta Connection, JetBlue, Northwest Airlines and US Airways Express.
Details at www.stewartintlairport.com.