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PANYNJ Taking Over Stewart

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has agreed to pay National Express Corp. $78.5M to take over the 93 years remaining on the lease governing operations at Stewart International (SWF), according to the Kingston Daily Freeman, a seven-day newspaper in Kingston, NY.

National Express has been running the state-owned airport under a 99-year lease signed in 2001 for $35M, less than half what is being paid by the Port Authority. The announcement doesn’t complete the takeover, which was announced in January and is expected to take effect in October or November. Among other steps, the Port Authority still needs to vote to certify Stewart will become part of the authority’s transportation system, the paper reported.

Stewart’s passenger numbers have risen in recent years, in part due to the addition of low-fare carriers AirTran Airways and JetBlue Airways. SWF handled 300,000 passengers last year, though PANYNJ officials believe it can handle 1.5M. The Port Authority also operates John F. Kennedy International (JFK), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark/Liberty International (EWR).