It’s official. The airport in Newburgh, N.Y., is getting a new name.

The Stewart International Airport will become New York Stewart International Airport. The change may be a slight one, but officials believe it will make the airport more recognizable to travelers.

Located about 70 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, the airport typically shows up on airline booking engines as “Newburgh, N.Y.,” or “Stewart/Newburgh.”

But now – as New York Stewart – officials are hoping the airport might more easily fulfill its potential as a secondary airport for the New York City metro area.

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The airport is currently is served by four U.S. carriers – American, Delta, JetBlue and Allegiant – but its traffic numbers have yo-yoed up and down over the past two decades.

Most recently, passenger numbers have been tracking up again in, rising from 275,000 in 2016 to 450,000 last year.

Some of that growth was spurred by Stewart’s newest carrier, Norwegian Air, which began flying from the airport in 2017. The European low-cost carrier added five destinations – Belfast, Northern Ireland; Bergen, Norway; Dublin, Ireland; Edinburgh, Scotland and Shannon, Ireland – that made Newburgh one of the smallest U.S. markets to have regular trans-Atlantic service.

Norwegian already markets the airport as "New York-Stewart," a move to help its European customer base understand the airport’s relative proximity to New York City.

"It's important for travelers to easily and quickly associate the airport with the New York region," Huntley Lawrence, aviation director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that runs Stewart, said in the run-up to the change, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

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The Port Authority – which also runs the primary New York City-area airports of LaGuardia, JFK and Newark – took over the lease for Stewart in 2007, aiming to better position it as a reliever airport for the region.  

Authorization for the name change came amid plans for a broader $37 million upgrade to the airport. The project will expand the terminal and will include a new customs inspection area that can accommodate domestic and international passengers simultaneously.

The airport currently lacks a dedicated area to process international travelers, which – for the time being – is handled by using a moveable wall to section off part of the terminal. International traffic has surged at the airport since Norwegian Air began flying there in June.  

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The targeted completion date for the construction project is 2020.

The effort to change the airport’s name to New York Stewart did have to overcome one hurdle. Airport authorities initially hoped to change the name to “New York International Airport,” but that was opposed by the Stewart family that donated land for the airport.

One condition for the donation was that the airport retain the Stewart name, according to The Times-Herald Record of Middletown, N.Y.

Contributing: Poughkeepsie Journal, AP

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