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Stewart International Airport

Stewart International Airport
New sign at main entrance on NY 207 reflecting Port Authority takeover
Airport information
Airport typePublic
OwnerNew York State Department of Transportation
OperatorPort Authority of New York and New Jersey
ServesNew York Metropolitan Area
LocationNewburgh (town) and New Windsor, New York
Elevation149.7 m (491 ft)

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: For the military use of this facility, see Stewart Air National Guard Base

Stewart International Airport is located in the southern Hudson Valley, west of Newburgh, New York and over 60 mi (96.6 km) north of Midtown Manhattan, New York City. The airport is located in the Town of Newburgh and the Town of New Windsor."York." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on February 2, 2011.

Originally developed in the 1930s as a military base to allow cadets at the nearby United States Military Academy at West Point to learn aviation, it has over the years grown into the major passenger airport for the mid-Hudson region and continues to serve as a military airfield as well, currently housing the 105th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard and Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 452 (VMGR-452) of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. The space shuttle could have landed at Stewart in an emergency.

It has made history in several ways. After its closure as an active Air Force base in the early 1970s, an ambitious plan by former Governor Nelson Rockefeller to greatly expand and develop the airport led to a bitter and protracted struggle with local landowners that led to reforms in the state's eminent domain laws but no actual development of the land acquired.

In 1981 the 52 American hostages held in Iran made their return to American soil at Stewart. In 2000, the airport became the first U.S. commercial airport privatized when United Kingdom-based National Express Group was awarded a 99-year lease on the airport. After postponing its plans to change the facility's name after considerable local opposition, it announced plans to sell its rights to the airport.

On January 25, 2007, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey board voted to acquire the remaining 93 years of the lease, effectively ending the privatization experiment. It took control of the airport on November 1 of that year. In 2008, AFCO AvPorts was awarded the contract to operate the facility.

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