printer iconPrinter-friendly Version

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 15, 2009

SCHUMER URGES FAA TO ACCEPT WATERTOWN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT GRANT APPLICATION FOR RUNWAY EXTENSION TO BRING EXPANDED AIR SERVICE, ECONOMIC BENEFITS TO REGION


With Recent Fort Drum Expansion and Economic Growth, Watertown International Airport (ART) is in Need of Greater Service Options and Longer Runway at Airport to Land Larger Carriers

2007 Commercial Air Service Study Determined that Runway Extension Would Expand Access to Larger Market and Greatly Benefit Region

Larger Runway Could Accommodate More Commercial Air Service to Watertown Area Residents; Schumer Urges FAA Administrator To Accept ART's Application for Grant to Fund Extension

In an effort to expand the runway and bring expanded commercial air service to Watertown International Airport (ART), U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to accept the airport’s application for $200,000 to extend the runway by 1000 feet. Schumer said that Watertown has experienced significant Fort Drum-driven population and economic growth in the last several years, making it an ideal location to expand its runway in the coming years. A 2007 commercial air service study determined that an expanded runway would greatly benefit the region by allowing the airport to attract and accommodate more commercial airlines. WIA applied for funding through the 2009 fiscal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to extend their existing runway 10-28.
 
In an effort to make sure that the airport could expand its runway to the necessary length and increase airline capacity, Schumer personally wrote to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt to support the airport’s application for funding to extend the runway.

 
“It’s no secret that Watertown’s fast-growing population and high demand for travel options is an economically promising bright spot in the North Country,” said Schumer. “The airport has a golden opportunity to take advantage of this growing demand by extending its runway to help it attract new commercial air service to the region. I urge the FAA to grant the airport the funds it needs to extend its runway so that the airport and the region can reap the benefits of expanded air service.”
 
Over the last several years, Watertown Airport officials have been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to extend their runway in order to accommodate more airlines. At its current length of 5000’ some larger aircraft carrying 50, 70 or 86 passengers are unable to utilize the Watertown Airport, or are forced to take on fewer passengers, cargo and fuel. This limits both the destinations that carriers can fly to and also prevents it from maximizing the Watertown travel market.   
 
Jefferson County completed a Commercial Air Service Study in 2007 whose findings indicated that WIA is missing an opportunity to capture a relatively large, commercial aviation market.  This is especially true because of the airport’s proximity to Fort Drum, home of the United States Army’s 10th Mountain Division, which produces 13,000 non-deployment trips annually from other airports.  Fort Drum is anticipated to expand from 12,300 soldiers in 2003, to 20,300 soldiers in 2013, making WIA ideally situated to handle a drastic increase in enplanements from the Central New York area.

 

Two airlines have written letters of support for an extension of ART’s runway-- Delta Air Lines, and JetBlue Airways.  While neither airline has firmly committed to adding air service at ART in the immediate future, Schumer noted that the two letters demonstrate the inability for commercial airlines to add or increase their presence at ART, given the airport’s runway constraints.

 

Schumer today said that extending the runway at ART would help attract more commercial airlines to the airport, bringing jobs and greater travel options to residents in the area. 


A full copy of the Senator’s letter is below

 

                        July 15, 2009

 

Dear Administrator Babbitt:

 

I write to request the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) support for Jefferson County’s grant application for Watertown International Airport (ART).  Jefferson is a county in Upstate NY that will benefit immensely from an extension of their existing runway 10-28, which at its current length is unable to accommodate future air service growth.  As I understand, there are discretionary grant funds available through the remainder of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 fiscal Airport Improvement Program (AIP), and I ask that ART’s application be prioritized for funding.

 

Jefferson County completed a Commercial Air Service Study in 2007 whose findings indicated that ART is missing an opportunity to capture a relatively large, commercial aviation market.  This is especially true because of the airport’s proximity to Fort Drum, home of the United States Army’s 10th Mountain Division, which produces 13,000 non-deployment trips annually from other airports.  Fort Drum is anticipated to expand from 12,300 soldiers in 2003, to 20,300 soldiers in 2013, making ART ideally situated to handle a drastic increase in enplanements from the Central New York area.

 

The airport’s 10-28 runway is currently 5,000 feet in length, which makes it unable to accommodate large commercial aircraft.  Two airlines have written letters of support for a 2,000 foot extension of ART’s runway-- Delta Air Lines, and JetBlue Airways.  While I understand that neither airline was able to firmly commit to adding air service at ART in the immediate future, I believe that their letters demonstrate the inability for commercial airlines to add or increase their presence at ART, given the airport’s runway constraints.

 

Jefferson County will submit their formal Environmental Assessment to FAA, and I ask that their project be prioritized to receive FY2009 AIP funding.  Thank you for your attention to this matter.  If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact my Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.

 

###

Resource Center
chuck around new york icon
Chuck in New York
See what Chuck has been doing in
your area lately
Casework Icon
Services for New Yorkers
For help cutting through the federal government's red tape
Tours Icon
Schedule a Tour
Plan your trip to Washington D.C.
Veterans Icon
Veterans Assistance
Help for those who have served our nation
Protecting Consumers icon
Protecting Consumers
Help and Resources for New York consumers
Grants Assistance icon
Grants Assistance
Guide to applying for federal grants
Financial aid assistance icon
Financial Aid Assistance
Guide to applying for federal financial aid
e-newsletter icon
facebook icon
twitter icon
youtube icon
flickr icon
CMF Bronze Mouse Award for the 111th Congress