October 12th, 2021 – What would it mean to the Long Island business community to see additional flights from MacArthur Airport? A survey just released by HIA-LI reveals additional non-stop destinations would translate to over $1 billion in money being spent at the airport specifically from for Nassau & Suffolk County businesses.
Over 500 businesses responded to the survey conducted in August 2021, indicating preferences and plans for current and future travel. Results also state that when businesses were asked how much of their travel budgets they would use at MacArthur Airport if more non-stop destinations were added, companies reported that, on average, they would spend 78.8% of their travel budgets (compared to 36% being used now) at MacArthur Airport.
“HIA-LI is a tremendous positive force and advocate for economic prosperity for all of Long Island,” said Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “HIA-LI understands that Long Island MacArthur Airport represents an important asset and an economic engine for our entire region both now and in the future. We are so grateful to HIA-LI members, HIA-LI President & CEO Terri Alessi-Miceli, and the organization’s Past Board Chair and current Chair of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge Task Force, Joe Campolo, Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP,” she stated.
“HIA-LI and MacArthur Airport help Long Island businesses prosper – pure and simple,” Campolo said. “Our member companies represent tens of thousands of business professionals and the recognized voice for business in our community for more than 30 years,” he added.
“Because of the overwhelming support of Long Island businesses participating in the survey and that of our membership, we see Long Island MacArthur Airport as Long Island’s airport of choice. Our organization’s members play a central role in serving our community as a building block for a future of long-term sustainable prosperity,” said Alessi-Miceli. “MacArthur Airport’s convenient location and business mindset helps bring jobs to Nassau and Suffolk counties, and positive economic impact to our region,” she added.
Locating near an airport presents businesses with many opportunities for growth and convenient transportation without long commutes for workforce and products. “MacArthur Airport’s location, access to the Ronkonkoma Long Island Rail Road Station, proximity to businesses and 2.8 million residents help us make a strong case for those seeking to provide sustainable development for future generations. We think this is significant as we look to jobs, opportunity, and quality of life for our young families, longtime residents and businesses, business start-ups, and companies re-locating,” LaRose-Arken said. “Often, we must live with the business decisions made many years ago, but we feel this survey bolsters that now is the time for us to actively present our region as one seeking efficient use of assets with an eye on the future,” she added.
More and more frequently, air service development decision-makers are looking for data and qualitative information from the business community to help differentiate airports from one another as airlines must be extremely competitive in order to retain jobs, successfully launch new routes, and be viable long-term. “My team and I spearheaded this survey to illustrate how the energy of the Long Island community can help ISP actively accomplish that objective,” Campolo added.
A trend in aviation is that forward-thinking cities and community partners are now involved in the active recruitment of new airlines and the growth of new destinations at airports. “Around the country we see chambers of commerce, convention and visitors’ bureaus, local governments, regional economic development associations, universities, and elected officials coordinating with their airports in a cooperative and unified manner, pledging support and frequently marketing dollars to ensure the success of new airline service and the Fly Local use of airport assets,” LaRose-Arken added.
It is important to clarify that no local tax dollars are used to fund US airports. MacArthur Airport is completely supported by revenues generated on-airport (landing fees, concessions, leases, etc.), through some State and Regional grants, and through grants issued by the FAA's Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACIP). Airport revenues must stay on-airport and cannot be used for other projects or purposes.
“The airport brings thousands of skilled jobs to our area and is essential to the local economy, which is especially important now, as Long Island recovers from the devastating effects of COVID-19,” said Supervisor Carpenter. “We were the first airport in the world to install an air and surface purification system that operates 24/7. We offer fewer lines and more space, and arriving and departing passengers are following the protocols designed to keep travel safe. As travel returns, data from Official Aviation Guide (OAG) indicate that ISP has outperformed other secondary airports in the New York and Boston regions, regaining 89% of its pre-COVID capacity versus 62% for other airports to the same destinations,” she added.
“While we are not surprised by these results, we are encouraged. ISP’s 2021 consumer insights survey research conducted by Carnegie Dartlet found that when people experience ISP they strongly prefer it to the alternatives. Additionally, preference and intention to use Long Island MacArthur Airport has grown since the start of the pandemic relative to other airports as travelers seek a clean and comfortable hometown airport as they get back to traveling safely,” explained LaRose-Arken.
Joe Campolo will present the full findings of the HIA-LI Travel Survey at the next HIA-LI Task Force meeting on October 13th.