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New International New York Airport with $109 flights to Europe

Stewart airport

Budget travelers flying to and from New York to many European cities may consider Icelandic carrier Play from an unknown New York Airport many say it’s a hidden jewel – New York Stewart International.

Flying to New York City from many European Airports may take visitors to a not-so-known airport in New York 90 minutes drive from Times Square.

A hidden secret among Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, and Jet Blue passengers flying from New York to Florida, New York Stewart International Airport will add its first European gateway to its portfolio.

Iceland based low-cost airline Play will start airline service from New York Stewart to Keflavik airport serving the capital Reykjavik and immediate connections to many European destinations such as Alicante, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Brussels, Copenhagen, or Dublin

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced today that lPLAY will be launching daily international flights from New York Stewart starting in June.

This is seen as a major step ahead in the Port Authority’s effort to expand air service and passenger travel options at the airport post-pandemic.

Currently, New York Stewart International Airport offers domestic flights to Florida:

Allegiant AirOrlando/SanfordPunta Gorda (FL)St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Destin/Fort Walton BeachMyrtle BeachSavannah
Frontier AirlinesFort Lauderdale (begins February 17, 2022),[25] MiamiOrlandoTampa
JetBlueFort LauderdaleOrlando
PLAYReykjavik–Keflavík (begins June 9, 2022)

New York Stewart International Airport is a 90-minute bus ride from Times Square. This small and comfy airport is situated southwest of the Hudson Valley, an upstate New York region.

Stewart International Airport, officially New York Stewart International Airport (IATA: SWF, ICAO: KSWF, FAA LID: SWF), is a public/military airport. The airport is in the Town of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor. It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a non-hub primary commercial service facility.

Developed in the 1930s as a military base to allow cadets at the nearby United States Military Academy at West Point to learn aviation, it has grown into a significant passenger airport for the mid-Hudson region and continues as a military airfield, housing the 105th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 (VMGR-452) of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. The Space Shuttle could have landed at Stewart in an emergency.

In 2000 the airport became the first U.S. commercial airport privatized when United Kingdom-based National Express was awarded a 99-year lease on the airport. After postponing its plans to change the facility’s name after considerable local opposition, it sold the rights to the airport seven years later. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board voted to acquire the remaining 93 years of the lease and later awarded AFCO AvPorts the contract to operate the facility. The Port Authority rebranded the airport to New York Stewart International Airport in 2018 to emphasize its proximity to New York City.

Fly Play hf. is an Icelandic low-cost airline headquartered in the country’s capital of Reykjavík. It operates a fleet of Airbus A320neo family aircraft with a hub at Keflavík International Airport

In 2019, just before the pandemic, the Port Authority introduced a five-point strategic plan for facility growth and expansion and has been actively engaged with numerous potential airline partners, including PLAY. The strategy includes modernizing the air carrier incentive program to attract and retain carriers, partnering with regional and state agencies to grow airport business and drive local economic activity, and entering into an agreement with Future Stewart Partners – to oversee operations.

“This is a significant development for New York Stewart International Airport and the region and customers it serves,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “The addition of PLAY’s international service is important in realizing our post-pandemic vision for New York Stewart as a leading regional provider of both international and domestic air service and as a generator of strong economic growth.”

“New York Stewart offers a low-cost, hassle-free and convenient way to travel,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “It is a practical and efficient alternative gateway for travelers to the Metro New York-New Jersey region. Our commitment to world-class customer service at all of our airports is strengthened by the addition of partners such as PLAY.”

“PLAY is strategically growing its presence in the United States, and New York is an important market for our expansion,” said PLAY CEO Birgir Jónsson. “New York Stewart International Airport offers a convenient location for both New Yorkers and travelers in surrounding states. Stewart also gives incoming European travelers access to local attractions and Manhattan. We expect a travel comeback this year, and our passengers will benefit from our convenient flights with some of the lowest fares to Europe, with the added benefit of SWF’s new international arrivals facility.”

PLAY will be the first airline to utilize the airport’s new $37 million, 20,000-square-foot arrivals facility. The airline is expected to offer tickets costing as little as $109 one way between airports.

Express bus service between New York Stewart and the Midtown Bus Terminal in Manhattan will relaunch as a result of these new flights and schedules, with a one-way cost of $20 for adults and $10 for children, which will be bookable online in advance or at the airport. Bus schedules will be timed to match the arrival and departure of PLAY’s flights. The travel time to/from New York City is roughly 75 minutes.

The Port Authority’s partnership with Future Stewart Partners, a joint venture between Airports and global airport operator Groupe ADP, has increased the airport’s visibility with domestic and international air carriers and brought added expertise in the expansion and retention of new air service. This partnership includes a renewed concessions program at the airport’s passenger terminal.

The Port Authority completed the construction of the new Customs and Immigration facility in November 2020. With the newly expanded terminal, New York Stewart offers shorter lines and less waiting at security and customs areas. In addition, parking fees have been lowered and the airport has added fast free Wi-Fi service. 

New York Stewart contributes $145 million in economic activity to the region and supports more than 800 jobs and $53 million in annual wages. More than half of the capital projects initiated by the Port Authority have been awarded to local firms and contractors.

To support the goal of driving tourism and economic development throughout the region, the Port Authority has also developed strong local partnerships with key stakeholders in the Hudson Valley’s 10 counties. Located a little more than an hour north of New York City, New York Stewart is close to top tourist attractions in the region, including the Legoland NY Resort and Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets.

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About the author

Juergen T Steinmetz

Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1977).
He founded eTurboNews in 1999 as the first online newsletter for the global travel tourism industry.

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