We make flyling a breeze


LIMA Hopeful Teamwork Spurs Service Development

By Teresa Rizzuto

If Long Island MacArthur Airport is able to expand air service to one of the largest suburban markets in the nation it will be due to a team effort by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, Congressman Steve Israel and Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan. These elected officials, along with the region's business leaders have been calling upon national and international air carriers to consider LIMA as a new port of call. But it needs the support of Long Islanders because the benefits transcend better connections to a broad range of destinations: It would create a stronger more robust local economy.

LIMA provides the power to drive tens of million of dollars of economic activity through both direct and ancillary services generated by a major transportation hub. In an economic environment that stubbornly clings to an unemployment rate in excess of national 9 percent, the value of LIMA cannot be overstated.
New York has quantified the economic strength of LIMA in a state Department of Transportation report published in 2010. The analysis shows that 4,870 jobs are directly attributable to LIMA and another 1,215 jobs are indirectly attributable to the airport’s activities. In addition to those jobs, the total economic impact provided to the region by LIMA is a staggering $577 million.
To the traveling public, the convenience of adding additional carriers to our anchor airlines Southwest and US Airways Express is obvious: exciting new destinations that easily can be reached via the hassle-free environment provided at LIMA.

But convenience is not enough. According to the report, every enplanement at LIMA generates $1,215 in the local economy and every 107 passenger enplanements creates one new job. While money generated at the airport must, by federal rules, remain at the airport, the expenditures of those additional passengers provides not only revenue to local businesses, but the sales by those businesses generates state and local tax revenue that helps alleviate the tax burden on us all.
As Schumer noted when announcing his support to bring JetBlue to LIMA, taking on another airline requires no infrastructural changes to the airport or its environs. The current configuration of our runways allows us to accommodate the types of aircraft we can expect from a carrier such as JetBlue and our projects to improve our taxiways and roadways, already under way, will allow us to service the additional aircraft and passengers in the prompt and efficient manner passengers who use LIMA have come to expect.

We at LIMA are justifiably proud to partner with other Long Island-based industries to provide additional advantages. Our partnership with the Long Island Rail Road in creating the train to the plane discount package to the Ronkonkoma station provides the convenience of direct service from the airport to New York City as well as anywhere else on Long Island.
The role of the airport is to support the mission of strengthening the economy while providing an environmental stewardship to the region as a whole. In doing so, the airport supports such groups as The ENERGEIA Partnership and KIOLI (Keep it on Long Island) in working to this end. Working closely with the Business Community through organization such as the Long Island Association and the Association for a Better Long Island will further solidify the resurgence of businesses in the region.
As a public official appointed by Supervisor Phil Nolan, and the Islip Town Board, I have been charged with managing this strategic regional transportation asset to ensure a maximum return for the taxpayer and the traveler. I carry with me a sense of responsibility to account for the many Long Islanders who depend on LIMA for access to business markets, recreation destinations and, for many, their careers. As a transportation professional it is clear that bringing additional airlines to LIMA will not only preserve existing jobs, but will also bring with it the additional economic and travel benefits to all of us who call Long Island our home.

It will be a collective effort of everyone who needs to get from here to there.

*Rizzuto is the commissioner of Long Island MacArthur Airport.