An endangered species has been identified in New England: general aviation airports. Specifically, privately owned, public-use airports, which are the most vulnerable GA facilities because they lack funding options and government backing, and whose owners often face pressures to sell to developers.
In a meeting last week in Burlington, Mass., with the FAA’s New England Regional Airports Office, AOPA and transportation and aviation officials from Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island discussed creating a GA System Plan Study. The study would identify endangered airports, assess the surrounding communities’ and GA airports’ needs, and chart a course to protect these critical transportation assets. The group learned of the pressures privately owned airports face from Bob Stetson, AOPA member and owner of Marlboro Airport in Marlboro, Mass., and Marlboro Airport Support Network volunteer Christine Pulliam.
AOPA Senior Director of Airports Heidi Williams and Northeast Regional Representative Craig Dotlo spoke about the association’s GA Serves America campaign and how it promotes the value of GA to communities.
“We brought this group of aviation officials together to try to reverse a negative trend--privately owned, public-use airports are closing all too often,” said Williams. “The FAA has highlighted New England as a trendsetter, and we’re going to continue working with all of these officials not only to protect these endangered airports, but to safeguard their future by showing their value to communities. The progress we make here can have an impact nationwide.”