Syracuse airport is out of city control and flying solo

Mar 3, 2014

Syracuse's Hancock International Airport, the region's major passenger airport, is now under the control of a private authority after an official handover from the city of Syracuse.

The hope is the airport will be more cost-efficient and creative.

Hancock airport was the last in the state to transfer to private control. It was a long process, said Mayor Stephanie Miner.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner at Hancock airport.
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner at Hancock airport.
Credit Ryan Delaney / WRVO

"There were lots of really deep-seeded issues that needed focused attention on. And in the world we live in, that isn’t always our strong suit," she said at a ceremony at the airport Monday.

But it's a change Miner says will ultimately be better for the region’s economy.

"What we don’t often think about is that we have hundreds business travelers who come in and out of this airport. And like the experience of coming in and out of this airport," she said. "This will allow them to have expanded services."

During the transition period, the airport already switched from city police officers to private security, which it is says saved 40 percent on costs. It’s also signed a new contract for concessions.

Officials say cutting costs will make flights cheaper and could attract new airlines or flights.

"What we think this is primarily going to help is not the city’s budget, but the people who live the city, the people who live in Onondaga County, the people who live in central New York because it will allow them to fly in and out at a more reasonable cost point and allow them to do business, visit families, have people come in here," Miner said.

City employees currently working at the airport will slowly be transitioned to personnel of the new authority. Miner says the airport will be entirely self-sufficient by the end of the year.

The airport was built as a military base during World War II and then taken over by Syracuse to be the city's commercial airport in the late 1940's.