Skip to main content
ad info

CNN Interactive   travel > news
  Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback

4:30pm ET, 4/16


Bigger not always better, travelers learn

Hassle-weary travelers look to smaller airports

Ninety minutes outside of New York City at MacArthur Airport in Islip, Long Island, passengers check in with ease  

In this story:

'Million-dollar positive'

L.A.-area residents say no

RELATED STORIES, SITES Downward pointing arrow

ISLIP, New York (CNN) -- The airports around New York City are as busy and as congested as the city they serve, and they're expected to get even worse.

"In the next 10 years, delays at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark (airports) are expected to double, and passengers can expect an average delay of well over one hour per flight," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York.

But at an airport just 90 minutes outside the city, the Spiegel family was on the move. They checked in with ease, and casually made their way to the gate.


"The stories about LaGuardia -- they talk about three-hour delays, and when we can come here and get to the gate in 10 minutes, it's like no hassle. It's great," Jeff Spiegel said.

The Spiegels are using Macarthur Airport in Islip, Long Island, a regional airport that until 1999 was not much to get excited about.

"The airport, this building, was a third of the size of this now," Islip Town Supervisor Pete McGowan said. "It was old. It was tired."

'Million-dollar positive'

But McGowan is proud of this place now. There's a new anchor tenant -- Southwest Airlines -- a $13 million renovation paid for by passenger fees, and a turnaround in the cash flow of the airport.

renovated terminal
A $13 million renovation at MacArthur airport has played a part in the airport's turnaround  

"I would say it took a million-dollar negative and made it a million-dollar positive," he said.

Macarthur is just one of many regional airports across the country taking advantage of the teeming tarmacs at larger airports nearby.

"Most of our regional airports are growing. With very few exceptions they're all growing," said Arlene Feldman of the Federal Aviation Administration.

But not everyone supports expanding regional airports. Among the critics are residents living around such facilities who complain that the increased passenger convenience comes at their expense.

L.A.-area residents say no

One, Burbank Airport near Los Angeles, is generating an outcry from protesters.

"They want to build a new terminal that will handle twice as many passengers as they do right now," said Howard Rothenbach of ROAR, or Restore Our Airport Rights, a group opposed to Burbank's proposed expansion.

"If that happens, that would mean twice as many flights, twice as much traffic on the streets and all the congestion, pollution and all the noise. It's just going to be a terrible impact on this community," he said.

Transportation watchdogs say those issues must be considered amid expansion plans.

Still, for passengers fed up with the hassles at major metropolitan airports, the promise of smooth flying from a regional airport may be difficult to resist.

L.A.-area communities oppose airport expansion plans
January 11, 2001
Aviation looks to cut delays through technology
July 27, 2000
FAA confirms two planes nearly collided last week at busy New York airport
June 19, 2000

Macarthur Airport
Burbank Airport
Restore Our Airport Rights
Federal Aviation Administration
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


Back to the top