Lehigh Valley

New LNAA executive director has optimistic plans for airport's future

The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority has named Thomas Stoudt its new executive director. 

Stoudt has deep roots at Lehigh Valley International Airport. 

"I actually started interning at the airport authority," he told WFMZ. 

He also worked as a baggage handler as he rose through the ranks for 22 years.

When Charles Everett left last August, Stoudt became interim director, and now he's officially got the job.

"I'm very excited. And very honored," he said. 

He's taking over at a good time for the airport.

Last month, more than 53,000 passengers reportedly traveled through LVIA, which is up 12 percent from January of last year. 

"And that follows onto an overall increase from last year," he said. 

So, what's next?

For one, more flights to Florida.

"We've got Allegiant, who is going to be increasing service," he said, "adding about 100 additional flights between now and the end of May."

For you eager travelers, more direct flights in general are possible down the road.

"We're certainly excited about looking at what we can do to get a little bit further west of here," he said. "And a couple of other options that we're actively discussing with carriers."  

A 53,000 square foot corporate hangar, meanwhile, is expected to open here in spring 2019.

"We know there's a lot of demand for larger corporate aircraft hangar space. It's very difficult in the Northeast market to find that, and so we're in a great spot," he said.  

Then there's a flight school, recently announced at Braden Airpark outside of Easton, a second airport he hopes to revive after years of turmoil. 

"We're really excited about that because again adding some of those aviation service providers back into the system encourages a lot of other business and growth," he said. 

The third airport in his system, Queen City, will see hangar development.

And finally, a long-term capital project: upgrading the primary runway at LVIA. 

"It's something that we're looking to start some construction on this fall," he said. 

That rehabilitation could last three to four years.

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