Friday, January 7, 2000
Massport reps advise Carlisle selectmen on Hanscom issue
Hanscom Field is part of a regional air transportation system which Massport sees as taking the pressure of small corporate and commercial aircraft off Logan Airport and which cannot accommodate much more air traffic than is currently there. This was the opinion of the spokesmen from Massport who attended the December 14 selectmen's meeting at the request of the board in response to concerns from River Road resident Kathleen Mayer about increased noise and pollution from the increase in commercial air traffic at the field.
Massport manager of government/community affairs Richard Walsh told the board that Shuttle America, the commercial airline that recently began operations at Hanscom Field, fits the criteria established in the 1970s for use of the field. Massport would be in jeopardy of losing federal funding, including substantial funding for Logan Airport, if it denied access to an airline that met these criteria. Whether Massport would accept another application would depend on what facilities the airline needed, said Walsh. Manager of airport administration at Hanscom Field Sarah Arnold told the board that the facilities at Hanscom are not sufficient for large carriers that require baggage handling, for example.
When asked what the long-range plan is for Hanscom, Walsh responded that Hanscom will be developed to relieve the corporate congestion from Logan. "The fear is that one day you will wake up and Hanscom will be a major airport, but this is not part of Massport's general plan," said Walsh. Selectman Michael Fitzgerald still had doubts about future expansion, especially if the new runway at Logan is not approved. Selectman John Ballantine understood that Hanscom must be a responsible part of a regional system. "We shouldn't be obstructionist," he said.
Regarding noise generation, Wayne Davis, Carlisle's representative to the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission (HFAC), informed the board that a "noise work group" was recently formed to reduce the noise impact of airport operations on nearby communities. The group is composed of technical experts, business representatives and pilots and lays a foundation for a cooperative effort to manage noise, said Davis. In addition, Arnold stated that there are regulations limiting maximum noise and that these regulations require a public process to change.
The Hanscom Area Town Selectmen (HATS) is suing Massport for its approval of Shuttle America's flights at Hanscom. The advisory commission voted to join the suit on the grounds that the approval process by Massport eviscerated HFAC's ability to advise on operations, said Davis, but HATS has not yet asked HFAC to join the suit. Selectman Vivian Chaput added that the regional planning group, MAGIC, has not taken any position on the litigation. Board chair Doug Stevenson stated that the selectmen will take no position either. If HATS wants support from Carlisle, said Stevenson, the organization must "sell it to us."
An opening exists for an alternate representative to HFAC. Anyone interested should contact the board of selectmen.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito