Sen. Chuck Schumer (D - N.Y.) is urging a European airline to start offering flights from the Hudson Valley to Ireland and Great Britain.

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On Wednesday, Schumer urged Aer Lingus, a flag-carrying Irish airline, to expand and enhance its presence in New York by establishing routes out of Stewart International Airport, specifically to international destinations such as Ireland and Great Britain.

In a letter to Aer Lingus, Schumer highlighted his long history of working with airlines to bring service to New York and the success of those routes as proof that boosted Aer Lingus service out of Stewart Airport could be a win-win.

Schumer believes this is the perfect time for Aer Lingus to expand to Stewart Airport, as it recently lost two popular daytime routes to Ireland and the UK offered by Norwegian Airlines. Schumer said that Aer Lingus is perfectly situated to take the place of Norwegian Airlines and urged the airline to seriously consider the many benefits Stewart Airport features as a location to expand its direct international service to.

“Aer Lingus’s arrival at Stewart Airport would be a major win-win for Aer Lingus, which can build and expand in the Hudson Valley and Upstate New York and for the residents of the Hudson Valley and the nearby New York metropolitan area, who would greatly benefit by having more affordable international flight options,” Schumer said. “With Norwegian Airlines departing Stewart in the past year, the runway has opened up for Aer Lingus to take its place and take flight from the Hudson Valley. That’s why I’m urging Aer Lingus to establish new routes out of Stewart Airport to increase low-cost options, boost the tourism industry in the Hudson Valley and help spur economic growth in the region.”

Schumer thinks Stewart Airport’s prime location at the intersection of Interstates 87 and 84 presents a major opportunity to expand operations and capture more passengers in the Hudson Valley and the many millions more in the nearby New York metropolitan area and Upstate New York. Schumer detailed how the Norwegian Airlines flights weren’t just attracting travelers from the five boroughs of New York City, but they also grew the Hudson Valley and Capital Region markets by 34%, not to mention nearby New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania.

Furthermore, Schumer explained, while the interest for Americans to travel to Ireland and Britain is strong, the Hudson Valley offers plenty of destinations that incoming European fliers could take advantage of, such as Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets, as well as its proximity to New York City. In addition, a major new tourist attraction—Legoland—is set to open next summer, and will have a 15-minute shuttle service to and from the airport, and the development of New York International Plaza at Stewart Airport will greatly expand business, medical and retail offerings.

A copy of Schumer’s letter to Aer Lingus appears below:

Dear Mr. Byrne:

I write regarding the efforts of New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) to expand its service, particularly international service. I ask that Aer Lingus seriously consider the many benefits Stewart Airport features as a location to expand your direct international service, especially to Ireland and Britain.

As you may know, between 2017 and 2019, Norwegian Airlines flew up to two popular daytime routes between SWF and Dublin, advertising SWF as a low-cost alternative to the downstate airports for fliers. In August of last year, Norwegian made the decision to cease service at Stewart, citing the grounding of the 737 Max. This gap in service opens up new opportunities for airlines like Aer Lingus to meet a demand for international flight options that was made evident by Norwegian’s experience.

Stewart Airport’s location presents an opportunity to expand operations and capture more passengers in the Hudson Valley, the many millions in nearby New York metropolitan area and upstate New York. The Norwegian flights to Dublin weren’t just attracting travelers from the 5-boroughs of New York City. The flights also grew the Hudson Valley and Capital Region markets by 34%, not to mention nearby New Jersey, and even parts of Pennsylvania. While the interest for Americans to travel to Ireland is strong, conversely, the Hudson Valley offers plenty of destinations that incoming European fliers are taking advantage of, such as Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets, as well as its proximity to New York City. In addition, a major new attraction, Legoland, is opening next summer and will have a 15-minute shuttle service to and from the airport, and the development of New York International Plaza at Stewart Airport will greatly expand business, medical and retail offerings.

My staff has been in touch with your staff regarding this matter, and I ask that that your operations team seriously consider the opportunity presented by SWF. As the US Executive Vice President of Aer Lingus, you understand your operations best, but I believe Stewart International Airport offers a mutually beneficial opportunity for the Hudson Valley and for Aer Lingus. Our office is pleased to be a resource for Aer Lingus as you look at new routes.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to follow-up with me or my staff.