New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) is to finally be reconnected to long-haul, international destinations.
European airline start-ups Norse Atlantic Airways and PLAY have been granted permission to start flying to the regional airport in 2022.
“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 of New York and New Jersey.
Let’s review what we know about each of the airlines’ plans so far.
Stewart Airport Back in the Spotlight
The last airline to operate across the Atlantic from Stewart was Norwegian with its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In March 2019, the low-cost carrier was forced to cancel its routes following 2 fatal incidents involving 737 MAXs from other airlines.
The MAX had yet to return to the skies before the pandemic arrived a year later in March 2020, dashing the possibility of a quick restart of Stewart’s international operations.
2 years on and 2 airlines have high hopes for the regional airport: Norse Atlantic Airlines with flights from Oslo (OSL) and PLAY with flights from Reykjavik (KEF).
For international travelers, referring to Stewart as “New York” could be misleading. While it’s definitely in the state of New York, it lies around 70 miles north of Times Square, close to the Orange County city of Newburgh.
Driving time clocks in at around 90 minutes, which, by all accounts, could be quicker than waiting in bottleneck traffic en route to the closer airports of JFK, LaGuardia (LGA), or Newark (EWR).
Norse Atlantic Airlines
Norwegian long-haul, low-cost start-up Norse Atlantic Airways applied for the rights to carry out flights between the U.S. and Europe back in September 2021.
Permission has since been granted and the airline plans to start operating nonstop flights from the Norwegian capital of Oslo (OSL) to Stewart (SFW), as well as the sunshine destinations of Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Ontario (ONT) in California.
“Norse will be there to offer attractive and affordable flights on our more environmentally friendly Boeing 787 Dreamliners to both the leisure and cost-conscious business traveler,” said Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO and Founder at Norse.
Dates for the inauguration and the schedule of the routes are yet to be revealed.
Bottom Line: Norse is filling the huge gap that Norwegian has left behind. While details are still limited on the airline, see what we know about the ambitious start-up so far.
Back in December 2022, the Icelandic start-up PLAY unveiled Baltimore (BWI) and Boston (BOS) as its first U.S. destinations.
The latest addition to its transatlantic route map is Stewart Airport with daily round-trip flights to Reykjavik (KEF) starting June 9, 2022.
The inauguration of the route will mark the first new international airline at the airport since the good old pre-pandemic days in 2019.
While the location of Stewart Airport may not be the first choice for potential visitors to New York, the arrival of PLAY will certainly bring some exciting new travel opportunities for those living in Orange County and Upstate New York. However, PLAY’s decision to choose Stewart as its New York airport is a well-thought-out one.
“We want to create the most economical way to get to and from New York from Europe, so if we went to the same airports as everyone else, that isn’t good business,” said Birgir Jónsson, CEO at PLAY.
The schedule for the Stewart-Reykjavik flights is as follows:
- Depart Stewart (SWF) 6:45 p.m. — Arrive Reykjavik (KEF) 4:40 a.m. (+1)
- Depart Reykjavik (KEF) 3:15 p.m. — Arrive Stewart (SWF) 5:35 p.m.
Passengers will be able to connect seamlessly in Reykjavik onto nonstop flights to a further 22 European destinations, including; Alicante (ALC), Amsterdam (AMS), Barcelona (BCN), Berlin (BER), Bologna (BLQ), Brussels (BRU), Copenhagen (CPH), Dublin (DUB), Gothenburg (GOT), Gran Canaria (LPA), Lisbon (LIS), London (STN), Madrid (MAD), Malaga (AGP), Palma (PMI), Paris (CDG), Prague (PRG), Salzburg (SLZ), Stavanger (SVG), Stuttgart (STR), Tenerife (TFS), and Trondheim (TRD).
PLAY will use its fleet of narrow-body A320neo family aircraft on its routes.
New routes, new airlines, and new destinations mean more travel possibilities for those living both near Stewart Airport and across the European continent.
However, Norse and PLAY won’t have it easy given the volatility that continues to shake the aviation industry in the wake of the pandemic.