Regional aviation groups play many important roles in ensuring their community airports remain open and accessible to business aircraft.
“Local and regional associations have firsthand knowledge of the unique challenges facing their local airports,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA’s regional program director. “These groups are indispensable voices in representing airport user and tenant interests and defending public access to vital airport services.”
Last year, discussion of a new airport master plan that aimed to curtail light GA operations at Seattle’s Boeing Field (BFI) led a group of airport stakeholders to form the Friends of Boeing Field.
“We anticipated a fight, but it turned out to be a matter of education and helping airport officials understand the complexities of community and business relationships,” said Stephen Ratzlaff, president of Friends of Boeing Field.
“Local and regional associations are indispensable voices in representing airport user and tenant interests and defending public access to vital airport services.”
STEVE HADLEY Senior Director of Regional Programs, NBAA
That input resulted in an airport layout plan that preserved existing GA infrastructure. “It was a real turnaround that, frankly, we didn’t expect,” said Ratzlaff. The group now is working with airport staff and the community ahead of the next round of master plan discussions.
In New York City, the pandemic continues to suppress traffic at the city’s three public-use heliports, threatening not only current users, but also the future availability of the facilities for use by the emerging class of advanced air mobility aircraft.
“My greatest concern is bridging the gap between today’s helicopter community and future technologies like electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, which will greatly benefit from use of established facilities,” said Tom McCormick, chair of the Eastern Region Helicopter Council (ERHC). “Right now, it’s all about survival.”
ERHC also has long been a key supporter of nearby East Hampton Airport (HTO), having led efforts to develop a comprehensive voluntary noise-abatement program at the busy Long Island airfield. Recently, the group has been an outspoken advocate for maintaining public access to HTO, as the town recently moved to close the airport and reopen it as a prior-permission required private-use facility.
Noting that “[local] residents have spoken clearly about their desire to keep HTO open,” McCormick hopes that the town will revisit its decision “before it’s too late.”
“The town of East Hampton has been a fantastic caretaker for HTO for nearly a century,” he said. “It would be horrible to have that access curtailed, especially just a few years before the advent of innovative technologies in aerial transportation.”
Review NBAA’s regional group resources at nbaa.org/regional.
Representing Business Aviation at Love Field
Established in 1980, the Love Field Pilots Association (LFPA) represents the interests of business aviation stakeholders that utilize Dallas Love Field (DAL).
When airport officials moved to implement landing fees in 2018, the LFPA worked with the city and airport to manage the process and ensure such fees wouldn’t result in double-billing of airport users and tenants.
“GA certainly isn’t opposed to paying our fair share,” said LFPA Chairman Sean Lynch. “However, charging both fuel-flow and landing fees was specifically forbidden by Dallas city code.” LFPA’s discussions with the city led to removal of the fuel-flow fee.
The LFPA also works with other airport stakeholders on initiatives affecting all users at DAL, including the closure of a little-used crosswind runway that posed safety and airfield movement concerns.
Recently, the group engaged with air traffic controllers, airport officials and other local associations to mitigate operational impacts from the 11-month reconstruction of Runway 13R/31L. “We’re the busiest single-runway airport in the country right now,” Lynch noted.
The LFPA also hosts several annual events held by business aviation OEMs, and the LFPA Scholarship/Charity Fund provides critical financial aid to individuals and several local charitable organizations.