Student Fellowship

Activating Regional Aviation: Crafting a Marketing Strategy for Long Island MacArthur Airport

Project Area:

Economic Development


Islip, New York

Reporting to:

Airport Commissioner

The Challenge

Built in 1950, Long Island MacArthur Airport (LIMA) is located in and owned by the Town of Islip in New York. It is operated by the Town and is uniquely poised to become a leading economic driver as partnerships with national carriers, regional businesses, and local businesses continue to grow. Situated in Suffolk County, it is an easily accessible alternative to NY’s larger airports of JFK & LaGuardia, also located in the region. Its proximity to New York City, diversity of businesses and support from key stakeholders including the abutting residential community, Town Board members, local government, and New York State also contribute to its potential. LIMA has an award-winning customer service record, and with the recent addition of a new carrier, Breeze Airways, city officials believe that the airport presents an immediate opportunity for economic growth. 

City officials are seeking to increase airport usage to create greater economic opportunities for local businesses and residents and seek a fellow to help craft a marketing strategy for the airport. The fellow will work with the Airport Commissioner and Director of Marketing on a plan to increase airport awareness and usage, contributions of marketing dollars (currently at $300,000, aiming for a 130% increase), and community engagement (e.g., patrons, Town, region, national carriers, political leaders) to realize the airport’s value to the community and the region.

The fellow working alongside Islip officials will help answer these key questions: 

  • How can the airport benefit patrons, the Town, and the region? 
  • How might the airport attract and retain new patrons and strengthen its appeal to existing patrons?
  • How can the airport contribute to expanding economic development opportunities?
  • How can the Town conceptualize and leverage a marketing strategy to attract additional airlines and/or demand for new destinations/routes?
  • How can the airport generate and sustain marketing dollars for current airlines?
  • How might the city craft a compelling narrative that communicates the value and opportunity of the recent successes (e.g., expansion with two new airlines)?

What You’ll Do

The fellow will be expected to create a marketing plan for the Long Island MacArthur Airport. Key tasks include: 

  • Analysis of existing and historical data on airport use, related transit assets, user demographics, and the local and regional business ecosystem to develop target profiles. 
  • Assess both LIMA and competitor offerings (e.g., destinations, routes, parking, terminal access) as well as regional assets.
  • Evaluate reverse marketing opportunities in destination locations (primarily Norfolk, VA and Charleston, SC).
  • Research into promising practices deployed by other cities for generating marketing dollars for new airlines.
  • Stakeholder interviews with the local and regional business community, elected leaders, airport staff, and residents, to better understand how the airport can benefit specific users; craft differentiated marketing narratives and strategies that resonate with key audiences.
  • Build a new airport-specific database to capture relevant marketing data and sources.

Related deliverables to be defined in concert with the fellow may include the following: A draft marketing plan that includes target profiles; insights into key stakeholder interests/needs informed by qualitative interviews; differentiated marketing strategies informed by promising practices research; and an airport-specific marketing database. 

What You’ll Bring

  • Data analysis skills
  • Marketing experience 
  • Research in trends and brand marketing
  • Qualitative interview skills
  • Writing and communication skills
  • Transportation or aviation interest
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