Ready for big changes
Shelley LaRose-Arken is the new commissioner of Long Island MacArthur Airport.

Photo provided by Islip Town

Ready for big changes

Story By: RICK CHALIFOUX
6/2/2016


ISLIP TOWN—The Islip Town Board recently voted to approve the appointment of Shelley LaRose-Arken as the new commissioner of Long Island MacArthur Airport.

“We’re confident that we found the right person to lead Long Island MacArthur Airport into its new era, where we’ll be offering expanded services, while preserving the positive, stress-free, pleasant flying experience travelers enjoy at Long Island MacArthur Airport,” said Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “We look forward to working with her as we take our airport to new heights.”

LaRose-Arken, the replacement for former Commissioner Rob Schneider, has been a manager and employee of the aviation industry for over 24 years, including tenure as assistant airport manager at Republic Airport from 1999-2006 and as airport manager of Republic since 2006. She has also held positions in noise abatement at Cincinnati/North Kentucky International Airport and Westchester County Airport. She began her first day with Islip on Tuesday.

“I’m excited to be leading Long Island MacArthur Airport at this crucial time in the airport’s history,” said LaRose-Arken, a Greenlawn resident who has lived on Long Island for the past 18 years. “This is a coveted facility and a key part of the local economy. I’m looking forward to building on the successes of the past year and expanding the reach of the airport.”

While MacArthur has generally struggled to acquire and retain new airlines in recent years, LaRose-Arken said that the airport is poised for expansion.

“We’re in a wonderful position,” said LaRose-Arken, who is also a licensed pilot. “With congestion at neighboring airports, MacArthur is in a logical place where growth is certainly possible.”

The town board voted in favor of LaRose-Arken’s appointment by a vote of 4-1 at last Tuesday’s town board meeting, with just Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt voting no. Supervisor Angie Carpenter stated that the town conducted a national search for the position

“This is a very exciting time,” said Carpenter at the meeting. “Probably for the first time in a long time, we’re appointing a commissioner who has experience running an airport on a day-to-day basis.”

Earlier this year, the airport reached agreements with two new airlines that will offer access to brand new destinations that have never been serviced from Long Island MacArthur Airport. They are National Airlines, which will offer non-stop service to Puerto Rico; and Elite Airways, offering service to several vacation destinations along the East Coast, including Portland/Bar Harbor, Me., and Myrtle Beach.

“I think the supervisor has really laid out very specific goals with respect to [expanding] service,” said LaRose-Arken, who noted that her experience in general aviation would also be an asset. “I am here to support her on that mission, and I’m encouraged to talk to a number of airlines…We’re in a very dynamic position for change, and that’s what I’m here to do.”