A new building and hangar at the Watertown Airport has opened to serve the growing needs of the local business community.
There are two parts to the Watertown Airport just outside the city — there’s the commercial side where passengers board the two American Airlines flights to Philadelphia each day, and there’s the side that caters to private businesses. Jim Nabywaniec is a Jefferson County legislator who helps oversee projects at the airport.
“Companies like Bernier Carr, Purcell Construction these are all people who have their own private aircrafts stationed at the airport and used in on a weekly basis, really,” Nabywaniec said.
Top executives who fly in and out of the Watertown Airport in private planes are now enjoying the comforts of a new building that features a pilots lounge, a service counter, and a conference room. Nabywaniec says local manufacturer New York Air Brake has already rented out the conference room. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has it reserved for next week.
The airport has also opened a new hangar for private planes.
“It’s just being more accommodating to the people who are currently using it . For the business community to come in and out and really meet the demand for existing companies that were using the airport that requested these facilities,” said Nabywaniec.
Jefferson County took over ownership and management of the airport from the city in 2006. Nabywaniec says over the course of a decade, the number of customers using the airport has tripled, due partly to more soldiers at Fort Drum. More than $22 million of improvements have gone into the airport through federal and state funding. The new business center and hangar cost $3.4 million.
More growth is planned. County officials are waiting on the federal government to approve the expansion of the airport’s runway by a thousand feet.
Nabywaniec says the new business center hopes to bring in money for the airport through fuel sales and rent of the hangar and conference rooms.