Massport Executive Director and CEO was joined by nearly 100 business and labor leaders to voice support for a new runway at Logan International Airport. Businesspeople from all across the state and national aviation experts came to tell how important an efficient Logan is to their business and the national air transportation system.
"The current aviation crisis is unacceptable to the business community where delay is quantified in million dollar losses; to the leisure traveler where delay is quantified by diminished vacation time; and most important, to Logan's neighboring communities where delay is quantified by idling aircraft and planes circling over neighborhood homes," Buckingham said.
Logan has been one of the top ten most delayed airports since 1990 and was ranked second for arrival delays by the FAA in 2000. Without a new runway, delays will skyrocket to close to 400,000 hours annually by 2015 and the average flight delay will double from 17 to 36 minutes.
"In a country as large and geographically diverse as the United States, it is vital that we have a highly efficient national air transportation system if we are to remain competitive in the global economy. This runway project in Boston is important locally, but it is also a key to our national economic strength," said Charles Barclay, President of the American Association of Airport Executives.
Massport filed a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Report with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and a Final Environmental Impact Report with MEPA on March 16. The filing followed an additional year of review mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration FAA, the Environmental Impact Report substantiates the benefits of constructing Runway 14-32. Findings highlight that the proposed airside improvements will:
Reduce overall delays by 30 percent;
Direct more than 75,000 flights a year over Boston Harbor, away from Boston-area neighborhoods;
Allow FAA air traffic controllers the flexibility to vary runway use, reducing the burden of over flights on heavily impacted neighborhoods in East Boston, Winthrop, South Boston and Revere.
Improve air quality, as aircraft will spend less time idling on taxiways and circling overhead.
Diminish nighttime flights by approximately 15 percent.
Reduce total airport emissions by 500-700 tons annually.
Logan currently suffers from approximately 142,000 hours of delay a year, seven times more than the FAA standard for delays, costing airlines and their passengers more than $300 million annually. These delays result in aircraft idling for longer periods of time, generating more emissions, and flights arriving later into the evening than originally scheduled.
Massport has taken aggressive steps to advance the use of other New England airports to reduce the share of travelers who use Logan. Last year passenger traffic at Hanscom Filed increased by over 600 percent and passenger traffic at Worcester Regional Airport increased by more than 100 percent. During the same period, operations at Logan actually decreased by more than 3 percent and passenger volumes grew by just 1.3 percent. The forecasts for Logan passenger growth, once set at 37.5 million passengers by 2010, won't be realized until 2015 because air travelers are choosing to use regional airports.
Despite the increased use of regional airports and a dramatic slow-down in growth at Logan, delays Logan continue to mount at a staggering pace. Delays at Logan increased by 60 percent in 2000, making Logan the sixth most delayed airport in the country, the second most delayed for arrivals.
Other elements of Logan's Delay Reduction Plan include the construction of a new centerfield taxiway, improvements to taxiways, and the reduction of approach minimums to meet FAA standards.
Since 1995, the proposed runway has been the subject of more than 100 meetings that included over 3,000 participants. In addition, Massport funded approximately $350,000 for independent aviation consultants to guide community groups through the technical documentation. Massport will participate in the public hearing today to allow the public to speak for or against the project as part of the official record.
Massport and the FAA have extended the public review of the documents has been from 45 days to 75 days at the request of local elected officials. The comment period for the federal SDEIS will be received until June 6, 2001 and comments on the state FEIR will be received until June 8, 2001.