RONKONKOMA - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced new plans to add more routes and businesses to MacArthur Airport in an attempt to bring in international service.
Bellone and Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter announced that they will set aside $1.5 million to expand a future U.S. Customs facility next to the Ronkonkoma airport's main terminal.
The Suffolk officials are in talks with an international airline and will soon begin a marketing campaign to advertise future flights to Europe. With renovations currently being done at LaGuardia Airport, officials are hoping to accommodate a possible influx of customers.
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"All we see is opportunity," Bellone says. "This region has incredible potential - being one of the hottest places in the country for young people to be."
Should the plan come to fruition, it would represent a major turnaround for the town. MacArthur has lost three airlines in the past four years, costing the Town of Islip millions of dollars in lost revenue. Due to these economic losses, county Comptroller John Kennedy says he will scrutinize the proposal to ensure the county's funds are properly used.
An organization called "Residents Opposed to the Expansion of MacArthur Airport" tells News 12 that it intends to protest any plan allowing international travel through the airport.