Sullivan County’s "local" airport is Stewart Airport in Newburgh. Stewart has had a lot of ups and downs over the past few years in expanding commercial air service, and until recently has just had a few regional jet flights to major hubs on American, Northwest and USAirways, plus a few flights a week to Florida on Allegiant Air.
Earlier this month, Atlanta-based AirTran, one of the most sought after low cost carriers, announced it would begin daily nonstop service to Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, as well as 2 daily flights to its hub in Atlanta starting Jan. 11th.
Today, JetBlue, the belle of the low cost carrier ball, chose Stewart as its next expansion airport, with daily flights to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale starting Dec. 19th, with the addition of a nonstop flight to West Palm following in January.
This is big news in these parts. Of course, positioning Stewart as a more robust airport with stable air service is good for the Hudson Valley. But reliable and inexpensive service between Florida has an added benefit for Sullivan County and the Catskills region, as well. Sullivan County hosts a large population of ‘reverse snowbirds’ who summer here and winter in Florida, and convenient air service will only strengthen that connection. Maybe one of the flights can be nicknamed the ‘Boca to Bethel Express’.