Long Island MacArthur Airport (Photo by Judy Walker)
By: Adina Genn
With more funding, Long Island MacArthur Airport could attract carriers that fly to the West Coast and other routes. And that would be a boon to Long Island’s economy, not to mention better serve passengers in the region.
That’s the message from Sen. Charles Schumer and other government and business leaders.
They gathered at MacArthur Airport Thursday to urge the Federal Aviation Administration to back a multi-million dollar capital project that Schumer said could bring millions of dollars to Long Island, while bringing upgrades to the airport.
“Today, we are asking the FAA to clear the runway for MacArthur to land critical fed funds that will help it meet the needs of a metro market busting at the seams, and at the same time put Long Island in a position to attract more carriers and long sought destinations, like Los Angeles,” Schumer said.
“The good news here is we’ve done the hardest part already when we passed the 2018 appropriations bill,” he added.
That bill increased total funding to the FAA by about $2 billion, Schumer said.
“Now, today, we are saying, put that funding to good use and deliver it to Long Island so it can have the economic impact it was designed to have, boosting this busy airport, a slew of jobs and the satisfaction of MacArthur’s customers,” he said.
MacArthur has applied for federal funding for a multi-million dollar capital improvement project, according to Schumer. Specifically, he is requesting $9.4 million to support reconstruction of the west terminal apron, $30 million to redevelop the west concourse, and $9 million for terminal building improvements.
Those improvements would go a long way in an effort to recruit new carriers, he said.
Airport officials pinpointed several large metro markets for potential new carriers that would be profitable for the airport, including the Los Angeles metro market, Schumer noted.
The airport would be able to establish new routes because newly manufactured aircrafts such as the Airbus A220 can fly transcontinental could fly in and out of MacArthur without the airport adding an extended runway, officials said.
The FAA in September awarded $205 million in supplemental funding for infrastructure grants to nearly 40 secondary airports, with more to be announced in July. This is in addition to $3.31 billion already awarded in regular Airport Improvement Program funding during 2018.
MacArthur is a secondary airport and qualifies for federal funds. It is proposing a $125 million design and construction capital project proposal on track for 2020 construction and a 2022 completion date. And already, the airport has scored $12 million from New York State, Suffolk County, and the Town of Islip for the capital projects.
Schumer looked at expanded service as a boost to the transportation infrastructure in the region.
Islip Town Supervisor Carpenter said the improvements would “have a positive impact…not only the Town of Islip, but the entire Long Island Region. New technology will make it possible for ISP to serve a broader spectrum of destinations in the near future, and by investing now, we will be ready for this game changer.”
“The continued development of Long Island MacArthur Airport with more travel options at an affordable price will spur economic growth for the entire region,” said Kevin Law, the president and CEO of the Long Island Association.
“The continued efforts of all to provide additional service to and from Long Island MacArthur Airport is essential for the continued growth in our economic development and tourism sectors,” said Mitchell Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute and Chair of the Town of Islip Airport Advisory Committee.