Watertown Airport To Get New Baggage Handling System

Watertown Airport To Get New Baggage Handling System

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Next summer, the Watertown International Airport will get a new motorized baggage handling system like you see in many airports. Airport and county officials say it is a game changer in improving customer service.

"Inbound passengers can claim their bags without getting into a congested area where they can't readily gain access to their bags because of the limited space," said Grant Sussey, airport manager.

State Senator Patty Ritchie announced she had secured $500,000 for the upgrade Tuesday morning. It will be built next to the current baggage claim, with part of it built outside the waiting room for loading. Officials say it was badly needed now that the airport has 50 seat jets and a lot of military passengers with large duffel bags.

"This is one of the last pieces of the puzzle for our facility, the boarding situation is nice and roomy and modern, this was somewhat antiquated and it's something that we really needed to get to," said Jefferson County Legislator Phil Reed, the chair of the General Services Committee. 

A couple of months ago Senator Ritchie also secured funding to get an airline to go to a second destination from Watertown. She now says that destination could be Baltimore.

"I think there was a conversation about potentially that might be one of the options that they're looking at," said Ritchie (R. - 48th District). 

With Fort Drum's connection to Washington, D.C., Baltimore is thought to be a good option.

But Sussey says nothing is ruled out at this point. It could be any airline or any destination. He says the airport has been meeting with members of the airline industry.

"Baltimore is an option, as well as many other destinations. Again it depends on lining up the correct air carrier and making sure they have the capacity and resource or aircraft available to provide that additional route," he said.

The baggage system will go out to bid in the spring and will be constructed in the summer. 

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