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July 23, 2010 @ 12:00 am EDT
Today we had the pleasure of hosting Theresa Rizzuto, Commissioner of Long Island MacArthur Airport (LIMA), giving us an update on what’s happening in and around the 50 year old facility. Ms. Rizzuto opened with describing the transition of MacArthur at its opening as a "Nice to Have" to today’s status as a critical linchpin in the region’s economy. It is a driver of private investment and job growth for Long Island. She followed with a more detailed look at the past ten years of ups and downs for the airline industry and economy. Right now one of the bright spots is General Aviation, experiencing growth among private jet travel.
The meat of Ms. Rizzuto’s presentation was a description of all the projects that are going on around the airport, from the addition of free Wi-Fi access, to the new Control Tower scheduled to open in early 2011, the road reconfiguration project, which will make it even more convenient to use LIMA, the West Side redevelopment project, where new private investment will replace old, dilapidated facilities to the new Fuel Farm, which to an airport administrator is the sine qua non of projects.
It was an engaging presentation punctuated by a description of the Town and Airport administration’s efforts to further market LIMA as both a departure point and Long Island as a destination. Negotiations and interactions with airlines were detailed, with an event called JumpStart described as "speed dating" between Airports and Airlines. LIMA is a relatively unknown airport among airlines, but Ms. Rizzuto and the town team are doing their best to make that a thing of the past. Through social media tools like Twitter @LIMacArthur and Facebook Fan Pages the word is getting out along with traditional media campaigns.
Ms. Rizzuto closed with a call to action for the business community to lobby the airlines to reinforce the demand for a convenient alternative to the congested Port Authority airports in NYC. Communicate with them on their feedback pages, and when you make travel arrangements, every voice helps.
We look forward to Ms. Rizzuto’s next visit where we hope she will have even more good news and additional travel destinations reachable by Long Island’s "Most Convenient Airport"