Saturday, December 9, 2023

Stewart Airport Begins Flights to Iceland

For Hudson Valley residents wishing to travel to Europe, PLAY Airlines has begun running daily flights to Iceland from New Windsor’s Stewart Airport. The airline’s inaugural flight from Reykjavik, Iceland landed yesterday.

PLAY describes their airline service as a “low-cost” carrier. The Newburgh News put their claim to the test. A round-trip ticket for a direct flight from Stewart Airport to Reykjavik Airport, departing on July 10, 2022 and returning the next day, is $489. Iceland Air provides the same round-trip, direct flights on the same dates out of Newark and JFK Airports for $951. Those wishing to fly out of Albany International Airport would pay $4,600 to $5,600 on the same dates with multiple layovers.

PLAY is expected to begin offering tickets costing $109 one-way between airports.

The Port Authority, which operates Stewart Airport, originally announced in February that PLAY would begin flights to Iceland. From there, passengers can board connecting flights to other locations in Europe.

PLAY will be the first airline to utilize the airport’s new $37 million, 20,000-square-foot arrivals facility. In addition, the Port Authority completed construction of the new Customs and Immigration facility in November 2020. With the newly expanded terminal, Stewart offers shorter lines and less waiting at security and customs areas. Also, parking fees have been lowered and the airport has added fast, free Wi-Fi service. 

PLAY joins two other airlines currently operating out of Stewart and is the only to provide international flights. Frontier Airlines currently provides flights out of Stewart to three locations in Florida, while Allegiant Air flies to five destinations within the United States. Norwegian Air, which no longer operates out of Stewart, previously offered flights from to Ireland. They were the most recent carrier to provide international service prior to PLAY’s arrival.

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.

“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.”

“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.”

Stewart Airport contributes $145 million in economic activity to the region. It 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.

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