WWNY 7 News
July 29, 2018

It looks like 2018 could be another record breaking year for the Watertown International Airport. Since commercial jet flights started there , tens of thousands of people have are using it to fly in and out of the north country.

“About 46,000 people through our commercial side in 2017. In 2018, we’re showing increases in that number so we hope to go above that,” said Scott Gray Jefferson County district 13 legislator & chairman.

It wasn’t long ago, people in Jefferson County didn’t have the option to fly in and out of the north country on a larger airline jet However, when the county took over the Watertown International airport started to take flight itself bringing travel in the north country to new horizons..

“This investment has been important to Jefferson County in terms of the economical viability of our county with regard to our corporate climate, certainly our tourism industry and our partnership with Fort Drum,” said Gray.

Since the county took over in 2006, around $30 million in expansions have been done, mostly through grants from federal and state funding. They were won partly by the growing number of travelers.

“These federal grants, they’re competitive. So to be able to be so successful at working with my office to apply for federal grants, that’s a big deal for this community,” north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said Friday while touring the airport.

And expansions have been done piece by piece.

Work is currently happening to part of the runway and in 2015 the airport opened up a business center making it so corporate and private planes could fly in, which has helped profits.

Jefferson County Legislator Phil Reed. Jefferson County district 3 legislator, said taking their time is a big reason the airport is debt free.

“It’s all part of a big puzzle that we’re constantly working on, said Reed.

With more traffic the airport has also expanded parking, mostly for people traveling on the American Airlines flights twice daily to Philadelphia and back.

“This is a customer service business,” Reed said. “People don’t have to fly in and out of here so you have to make it a good experience for the consumer.”