The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 27, 1999


Hanscom shuttle approval stirs up discontent

While not as scandalous as chartering a party boat at taxpayer expense, Massport's recent approval of Shuttle America's plan to operate a commuter airline at Hanscom Field has generated its share of controversy, according to Wayne Davis, Carlisle's representative to the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission (HFAC).

On June 15, Massport held a public hearing on the application of Shuttle America, a Connecticut-based company serving small airports on the fringe of major cities, to operate a commuter airline at Hanscom Field. The predominant views expressed at that hearing, according to Davis, did not favor Massport granting the approval. Davis said that Massport officials agreed to give the application a thorough investigation. HFAC met again on June 29 to formulate a list of questions for Shuttle America and Massport to gather more information about the proposal.

Davis recalled that this letter was delivered on July 12. On July 14, said Davis, Massport responded to the questions in the letter, but not completely. On July 15, said Davis, Massport granted the approval to Shuttle America.

Davis reported that members of HFAC were taken aback by the abrupt approval by Massport when the commission still had a request for information outstanding. While not agreeing to take legal action on its own behalf, at a subsequent meeting, HFAC agreed to join in any lawsuit that might be brought by opponents to the shuttle on the grounds that Massport's precipitous approval interfered with HFAC's discharge of its statutory duty to advise on operations at Hanscom Field. Davis mused that Massport's handling of HFAC's concerns might actually have strengthened the case of opponents to the shuttle.

HFAC is a commission established by state mandate to advise Massport about the use of Hanscom Field. The commission is composed of representatives of neighboring towns and users of the airport. The airport receives federal funds, so Massport cannot prohibit commercial traffic such as the Shuttle America service, said Davis in an earlier interview.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito