When someone says they’re flying to New York, many peoples’ first thought is they’re flying into either John F. Kennedy International or LaGuardia Airports. True, these two airports are among the 25 busiest airports in the country (JFK is #13, LGA is #25). However, New York is much, much more than Manhattan, or even the 5 boroughs that comprise New York City.
4th largest in population and 27th largest by size, roughly 56% of New York’s residents live in “upstate” New York. And within the state’s 54,556 square miles, there are 14 other primary commercial airports, 2 non-primary commercial airports, and 16 reliever airports (not to mention a few dozen general aviation, public-use, military and private-use airports that don’t see commercial traffic).
JFK and LGA are both in the midst of huge renovation. However NY Governor Kathy Hochul is ensuring that airports in Upstate New York aren’t neglected in the process, and recently announced $230 million in awards to nine upstate airports for revitalization projects that will reimagine and further modernize airports across upstate New York.
This funding will come from the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, a competitive solicitation which aims to promote, revitalize and accelerate investments in upstate commercial passenger service airports.
Here’s what each airport will be receiving:
Albany International Airport
Greater Binghamton/Edwin A Link Field Airport
- Relocation of the General Aviation Terminal to integrate it with the Passenger Terminal, unifying both functions in one renovated facility. The project will also include the creation of a new airport canopy designed to accommodate the future installation of rainwater collection and solar panels, helping to advance New York’s ambitious climate goals. Enhancements to the ticketing lobby and outbound baggage room, the departures lobby and lounge, the baggage claim, and other multi-purpose facilities will also be implemented.
- Construction of a new, 3,000-square-foot General Aviation Customs & Border Protection facility south of the terminal, which will help the airport maintain its designation as a user fee airport.
Watertown International Airport
Saratoga County Airport
Syracuse Hancock International Airport
- Essential upgrades to the airport’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Federal Inspection Station (FIS) to ensure the facility meets the latest CBP standards and preserve the airport’s international designation and ability to handle both international passengers and cargo operations. The project will also install the latest FIS equipment for international operations, allowing for the processing of 200 passengers per hour, replacement of a jet bridge, and creation of additional hold room and boarding space. The project also entails installation of a wayfinding lighting control system and support for hearing-impaired passengers.
- Enhancement and expansion of the North Concourse by upgrading and modernizing this portion of the terminal, which accommodates 40 percent of overall traffic. The project will add approximately 4,700 square feet to the concourse for improved passenger flow, along with additional seating areas and concession space. The design supports optimal natural ventilation for improved air quality, promotes energy efficiency with high solar reflectance index materials and dynamic window panels, and integrates sustainability measures through the use of local and recycled materials.
Sullivan County International Airport
$18.5 million to reconfigure the interior space, creating additional space for passengers, a new pilot lounge, and better views of the outdoor Catskill Mountain environment. The project will also upgrade the airport’s HVAC systems, and outfit the terminal building with improved insulation and with solar panels that will provide a sustainable source of electricity for the building. Additionally, the project will install electric vehicle charging stations in the parking area.
Frederick Douglass – Greater Rochester International Airport
- Revitalization of the terminal building to further modernize the entryway, ticketing area, and baggage claim to make it more inviting and easier to navigate. The project will enhance these areas with more natural lighting, LED fixtures, and new signage with digital wayfinding features. The project will create a new, user-friendly mobile app that integrates information about parking, concessions, flight activity, and other areas of the airport into one platform. Additionally, this project will renovate the airport’s Veterans Area, converting it into a modern gathering center with updated lighting, new furniture and display casings. In honor of the nationally recognized abolitionist Frederick Douglass, the project will create a new exterior welcome sign to promote the airport’s namesake, and will construct a new exhibit in the terminal that features Douglass’s work and legacy.
- Enhancements to airport operations, making HVAC enhancements and renovations to the freight building and the baggage belt. The project will also expand the canopy that adorns the front entrance of the airport and will incorporate rainwater collection into the infrastructure.
Ogdensburg International Airport
Adirondack Regional Airport
$8.5 million for revitalization of the terminal building. The project will make reconfigurations that will expand the central receiving area for improved flow of people. It will bring in LED lighting to illuminate the space and new wayfinding signage for easier navigation to the gate, the café and the parking facility. Post-security, the area will be reconfigured to provide additional space for passengers and an outer wall with large windows will be constructed, bringing in more natural light and providing a view of the airfield and the surrounding Adirondack peaks. Additionally, the project entails relocation and expansion of the café and various HVAC enhancements.
“Our upstate airports are our gateways to local economies and make lasting impressions, connecting New Yorkers and tourists to the beautiful destinations that the Empire State has to offer,” Governor Hochul said. “By making critical investments to further modernize facilities across upstate New York, we are lifting upstate airports to new heights and providing a 21st century transportation experience that travelers expect and deserve.”
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