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Islip approves ad campaign to promote town-owned Long Island MacArthur Airport

A Boeing 737 jet comes in for landing

A Boeing 737 jet comes in for landing at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma on March 29, 2012. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Islip Town Board has authorized up to $50,000 in advertising for its struggling Long Island MacArthur Airport this summer at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater and through the winter at a Westbury venue.

The town contracted with Live Nation Marketing Inc., to cover advertising at the Wantagh venue this summer and at NYCB Theatre at Westbury for the coming winter, according to the resolution, which passed last week.

It had a similar contract in place for the 2014 summer and winter seasons.

The airport "is a focal point of the Town of Islip and the success of the Airport is instrumental in the growth of the economy of the region at large," the resolution states, and the "Town of Islip and airport administrators seek to improve the positive appearance of the airport by promoting public exposure through a targeted advertising campaign."

The town did not make available its airport commissioner, Robert Schaefer, for an interview on the advertising campaign.

Several measures have been on the runway in recent months for the airport, which has been in distress for years with the loss of air carriers -- American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are currently the only two companies operating out of MacArthur -- along with losing millions in revenue and declining passengers.

The town, which owns and operates MacArthur, itself is dealing with an $11.3 million deficit.

In December, American Airlines lost its bid to restore flights between the Ronkonkoma airport and Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. The federal Department of Transportation instead awarded the two available slots at Reagan to Southwest Airlines to run flights between Washington and Kansas City, Missouri, based on several criteria, including consumer demand for that route.

The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency in March hired Martin Cantor, a Melville-based consultant and accountant, to conduct a $30,000 study to examine economic opportunities surrounding the airport.

Cantor plans to look at operations of other regional airports such as Stewart International Airport in Newburgh and Westchester County Airport in White Plains to see how MacArthur could increase demand for air service by ramping up business activity in the area.

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