Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce More Than $230,000 For Watertown International Airport In Jefferson County

Sep 29, 2014

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced $235,000 in federal discretionary funding for the Watertown International Airport in Jefferson County. The funding was allocated through the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Small Community Air Service Development Program. The Watertown International Airport will use these funds to invest in a community outreach and marketing program in order to increase awareness of the current options available at the airport. Specifically, the Watertown International Airport will be able to engage in an intensive and sustained marketing effort, with the aim of increasing and sustaining air service. The airport aims to boost the twice-daily service to Philadelphia now provided by American Airlines/US Airways under the Essential Air Service Program, and this funding will help it increase demand. The marketing plan would also focus on Canadian travelers, stressing to them the benefits of utilizing the airport.

“With this funding, the Watertown International Airport will now be able to conduct the community outreach and marketing campaign it needs to inform passengers of flight options and increase demand for flights,” said Senator Schumer. “Drawing more attention to the excellent flight options available in Watertown will help ensure flights are full and maintain the airport’s position as a major economic driver for the region.”

“This is a great investment for Watertown International Airport that will provide a boost to the local economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This federal funding to support the advertising strategy will provide the airport with the resources it needs to market their services and draw in more travelers. This will help drive economic growth in the Watertown area and broader North Country region.”

“This Small Community Air Service Development Program Grant will allow the Watertown Airport to develop a strategic marketing plan to promote, market and advertise the benefits of supporting the local community airport,” said Grant Sussey, Airport Manager for the Watertown International Airport. “I thank Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand as well as other community partners in their support of this crucial project to Jefferson County and Northern New York.”

Watertown International Airport is categorized as a primary commercial service airport serving the Greater Northern New York state and border region. The airport’s commercial passenger service has grown from 4,000 passengers during 2006 to 40,000 passengers over the past year, through American Airlines daily jet service. The Watertown International Airport has, since 2011, had a successful partnership with American Airlines. This partnership was arranged due to designation of Watertown Airport as an Essential Air Service (EAS) airport by the DOT. Due to this EAS designation, the DOT subsidizes all flights to and from Watertown Airport in order to provide air service to a community which otherwise may not be able to support it. Twice-daily service to Philadelphia, where commuters have access to dozens of domestic and international flight options, began this year. Watertown Airport is also the only airport in its immediate area that offers regional jet service, and is the primary airport between Syracuse and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Thousand Island Tourism Council has also pledged funding to this project and intends to work with the airport to determine the needs of travelers in the Watertown area. The eventual goal of this plan is to allow Watertown International Airport to grow large enough to drop EAS status and no longer require subsidies by the DOT.

This funding is awarded through the Small Community Air Service Development Program and is administered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The letters of support that Senators Schumer and Gillibrand wrote in support of this funding are attached.