Dutchess County Airport in Wappinger provides an economic impact benefit of more than $44 million annually, but it is not financially self-sufficient.
The county contracted with airport experts Steven Baldwin Associates to conduct a study into how to optimize efficiency and effectiveness of the general aviation facility.
The county currently serves as the airport’s fixed base operator, handling airport operations, but the study recommended the county hire a privately-operated FBO. County Executive Marcus Molinaro said taking the operations to the private sector will maximize the airport’s growth potential.
The airport at one time had commercial passenger service, years ago with Command Air and later American Eagle. There has been no regular service in years; however, the county has retained the FAA Part 139 certification allowing for it.
The Baldwin study recommended relinquishing that certification to achieve cost reductions.
The study also recommended initiating a water and sewer feasibility analysis; developing an airport-focused marketing plan; restructuring the airport advisory board legislation to clarify membership criteria, meeting frequency, and board duties and responsibilities; marketing existing vacant airport property and real estate and land parcels; and engaging current valuable tenants in talks to ensure continued tenancy.
The Baldwin group compared Dutchess Airport to five other municipal airports of similar operational size or competitor based on geographic location – Danbury Municipal Airport in Connecticut; Lawrence Municipal Airport in Massachusetts; Reading Regional Airport in Pennsylvania; Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wisconsin; and the Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut.