Stewart family members oppose airport name change


STEWART AIRPORT – Now that Stewart Inernational Airport has European service, the Newburgh area airport is being marketed by the Port Authority as a New York metropolitan facility and as such Governor Cuomo wants to change its name to New York International Airport at Stewart Field.
By keeping “Stewart” in the airport title, even at the end, the governor said it would continue to respect the family that donated their farmland that would become the airport.
Thomas Hafer, the grandson of the late Archie Stewart who convinced his uncle to donate the land to the City of Newburgh back in the 1930s, thought the name change was put to rest 10 years ago.
“We had an assurance from Governor (David) Patterson and published in an official document that said the name of the airport is going to be Stewart International Airport for the next 93 years of the lease, and in fact, that is written right into the lease document,” Hafer said. “I don’t see how legally he can decide to change it without renegotiating the entire lease and repudiating the former governor’s announcement.”
“Ridiculous,” is how Mary Stewart Hafer, the daughter of
Archie Stewart, and Thomas Hafer’s mother characterized the proposed
new name.
“If they really want to change it and put the ‘New York’ in, why don’t they just call it ‘Stewart-New York International’,” she said.
Thomas Hafer pointed to other airports around the country including Washington-Dulles that have historical names in them. “Kennedy and LaGuardia airports have the same type of name as Stewart; is anyone proposing renaming them or is the real purpose to ultimately rename the airport to ‘Cuomo International’,” said Hafer, who suggested if the governor goes forward with the change, the family would consider consulting their attorneys. 

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