Icelandic LCC Play will operate daily flights from New York Stewart International Airport to Reykjavik from June, aiding the airport’s post-pandemic recovery.

Play becomes the third carrier to offer international or domestic flights from New York Stewart. In October 2021, Frontier Airlines began service between New York Stewart and three Florida destinations, while Allegiant Air currently serves five domestic markets with non-stop flights from the airport. Play will offer connecting flights to other European cities from Reykjavik.

In 2019, just before the pandemic, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 

introduced a five-point strategic plan for facility growth and expansion of the airport. The strategy includes modernising the air carrier incentive programme to attract and retain carriers, partnering with regional and state agencies to grow airport business and drive local economic activity, and entering into an agreement with a best-in-class airport operator – Future Stewart Partners – to oversee operations.

“This is a significant development for New York Stewart International Airport and the region and customers it serves,” said Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “The addition of Play’s international service is important in realising our post-pandemic vision for New York Stewart as a leading regional provider of both international and domestic air service and as a generator of strong economic growth.”

Play will be the first airline to utilise the airport’s new $37m, 20,000ft2 arrivals facility. The airline is expected to offer tickets costing as little as $109 one way between airports.

The express bus service between New York Stewart and the Midtown Bus Terminal in Manhattan will relaunch as a result of these new flights and schedules, with a one-way cost of $20 for adults and $10 for children, bookable online in advance or at the airport. Bus schedules will be timed to match the arrival and departure of Play’s flights. The travel time to/from New York City is roughly 75 minutes.

The Port Authority’s partnership with Future Stewart Partners, a joint venture between Avports and global airport operator Groupe ADP, has increased the airport’s visibility with domestic and international air carriers and brought added expertise in the expansion and retention of new air service. This partnership includes a renewed concessions program at the airport’s passenger terminal.

The Port Authority completed construction of the new Customs and Immigration facility in November 2020. With the newly expanded terminal, New York Stewart offers shorter lines and less waiting at security and customs areas. In addition, parking fees have been lowered and the airport has added fast, free Wi-Fi service. 

New York Stewart contributes $145m in economic activity to the region and supports more than 800 jobs and $53m in annual wages. More than half of the capital projects initiated by the Port Authority have been awarded to local firms and contractors.