February 22nd, 2023 – Long Island MacArthur Airport today officially dedicated its $8.4 million, 12,000 SF Ground Transportation Center (GTC) following the completion of a Terminal Walkway, the final component of the project. Additionally, the airport announced $26 million in improvements to the Main Terminal Building, along with Mechanical Engineering and Plumbing (MEP) upgrades. While this construction work is funded by separate grants, the projects will take place simultaneously for efficiency, and to keep operations running smoothly for customers. The project is expected to take approximately one year to complete.
The construction improvements now underway will further improve the level of service for customers and will update and refresh old systems.
- The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is providing $14 million in funding for MacArthur Airport allocated by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Terminal Program. The grant for MEP work will be used to update the airport's terminal with energy-efficient upgrades such as fire and life safety equipment in compliance with current building codes, HVAC climate-control systems, replacement of electrical systems including lighting and signs, air purification installation, new energy-efficient plumbing fixtures, and a new backup emergency generator.
- The $12 million Main Terminal Building project will replace three baggage carousels, improving and updating the carousels with new equipment and additional security. The renovated area is approximately 12,000sf. The project also includes the complete replacement of the existing main terminal roof, originally installed in 1964 and replaced most recently in 1984. Additionally, the work will replace outdated vestibules and doors with energy efficient designs, including air curtains to keep cold air outside during the winter and cool air inside during the summer.
“We were able to secure more grant funding than any other airport of our size. These construction projects will enhance the unmatched airport experience for our loyal Long Island customers, as well as visitors to our area,” said Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “We are so grateful to all who helped us secure funding for these projects, and at no cost to local taxpayers,” she added.
In many cases, improvements will address issues that have needed attention for 60 years. “It is a continual process to update our existing facility so that it provides a comfortable experience, prioritizes security, and reflects new standards of practice,” said Airport Commissioner Shelley LaRose-Arken. “At the same time, we are keeping our eye on the future,” she said.
“These upgrades are necessary even as the community evaluates additional infrastructure projects that accelerate economic growth – such as connecting a proposed new North Terminal with the LIRR Ronkonkoma/MacArthur Airport station,” said Long Island Association President and CEO Matt Cohen. “The completion of LIRR’s Third Track gives airport passengers service to Grand Central for the first time, which offers businesses, travelers, and residents more convenience, and environmentally efficient, cost-effective transportation,” he added.
“An airport is more than just a gateway for the region, it’s the first and last impression a traveler has of a destination. ESD is proud to support improvements to Long Island MacArthur Airport because it is an investment in modern, efficient, and comfortable facilities that will help boost the region’s tourism and business development,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight.
In addition to taking out the old systems and equipment, these projects also enable the airport to refresh and modernize the appearance of the terminal facilities. Renderings highlight new colors, wall coverings, improved lighting, and carpeting reflecting the beautiful aesthetic of Long Island. “This immediately connects visitors and potential new businesses with an attractive reflection of our area, a more comfortable environment for local travelers, and a refreshed space for those coming to greet family and friends at their hometown airport,” Carpenter added.
"Investing in airport infrastructure not only helps build impressive and innovative airport facilities, but it also unlocks economic growth for the region. ESD’s support of MacArthur Airport will help Long Island attract more visitors and enhance business opportunities while improving the quality of air travel for everyone," said Empire State Development Board Chairman Kevin Law.
These projects combine with previous work over the past seven years, for a total of $100 million in capital improvements, ensuring the integrity of the airport’s infrastructure. This work includes significant airfield updates, along with the new Fire House, the Ground Transportation Center, and work to the terminal. As most of these funds are provided by federal and state governments, including $1,650,000 from Empire State Development, the airport was able to complete them while remaining financially self-sufficient.
“We all know these have been challenging times for airlines with crew shortages, rising fuel prices, and economic uncertainty. Despite this, we know the business community’s strong desire for more flights and commitment to Long Island MacArthur Airport,” said Joe Campolo, Airport Advisory Board Member, HIA-LI Past Board Chairperson and Managing Partner at Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP. “Airports across the country are competing more and more for air service and grants. These new projects and significant funding help us make a strong case to airlines to bring their aviation assets to our community,” he added.
Support for the airport within the Long Island business community is robust. Airlines frequently communicate that a strong and unified business climate is an important factor that can affect carriers’ air service development decisions regarding new destinations.
“We must take care of what we have while we evaluate where we go in the future,” said Mitch Pally, former CEO for the LI Builders Institute and current Joint Suffolk County/Town of Islip chairperson for the Midway Crossing Local Development Corporation. “Any decision on a new terminal project will take a long time. There are feasibility studies, community meetings, FAA evaluation, and planning. While we know a new terminal is important to Long Island long-term, we must continue to serve our visitors and community right here, right now. Having an improved and efficient facility also helps us encourage our airline partners, retain jobs, and serve our community,” he added.
“We are proud of our hometown Airport and are so grateful to the Islip Town Board for securing funding and approving this work, to our County and State leaders, to our vibrant business community, and to the FAA. Without this leadership, we would not be here today dedicating the Ground Transportation Center, and celebrating the start of these important new improvement projects,” Carpenter added.