The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved $2 million in planning work for a future 25,000-sq-ft terminal expansion of Stewart International Airport.

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The planning and design for the phased terminal expansion is being conducted by the Port Authority who first took on the operation of the airport in 2007 and is expected to be completed by December 2011. The first phase of the planned expansion will consist of expanding the north side of the terminal to construct an adequate federal inspection service facility and to increase overall capacity as well as allowing for the simultaneous processing of both international and domestic passengers. Other phases of the project will include customer service upgrades and additional improvements for a fully operational inspection facility.

As a way to help boost service to the airport immediately, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners has also authorized a two-year air service development incentive program designed to help alleviate the risks of starting up as a new carrier or charter tour operator. The program aims to entice passenger airlines and charter tour operators to initiate non-stop service to new markets and is available to both new and existing carriers and operators that provide scheduled non-stop service to any new destination that is not currently being served from Stewart Airport.

Both the planning work and the incentive program are expected to provide economic benefits through the creation of construction and airline carrier jobs as well as increasing airport revenue.

“This is welcome news for Orange County and the Hudson Valley area,” said U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand. “The Port Authority’s plan will provide needed infrastructure improvements for Stewart Airport and attract new airline services for travelers in the region. Now more than ever we need investments in our transportation infrastructure to provide jobs and stimulate long-term growth for the 21st century.”

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