Governor Paul Cellucci and Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift joined with Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham to announce the filing of environmental documents for a new runway at Logan International Airport, marking the last leg of an exhaustive environmental review process that has been underway for more than six years. Flanked by business, labor, tourism and transportation leaders, Cellucci and Swift said that Logans ranking as the sixth most delay-prone airport is jeopardizing the economic and environmental viability of the region. “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. After 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. This environmental filing follows the conclusion of a year-long, independent panel review required by the FAA and incorporates the input and analyses from that process. 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. A 45-day public review process commences on March 23 and ends May 11. Additional Analyses Incorporated into the Supplemental DEIS/FEIR
Evaluate the effectiveness of proposed 5,000-foot runway given the expected use of regional jets in the future fleet mix. (Chapter 4 and Appendix C)
Expand regionalization analysis contained in interim draft EIS (Chapter 2)
Expand analysis of Peak Period Pricing (Chapter 4)
Examine the impact of the 2015 modified 37.5M regional jet fleet mix on delay reduction benefits and environmental impacts. (Chapter 6)
Broaden discussion of national delays to put Logan delays into context (Chapter 1)
Analyze potential wind/weather use restrictions on Runway 14-32 and their impact on delay reduction, runway utilization and PRAS achievement (Chapter 4 and Appendix D)
Present enhanced flight track graphics on the same GIS base map used for the interim draft EIS noise contours, show individual tracks, extend into the South Shore and show altitudes (Chapter 6)
Incorporate a summary of existing analyses from the draft EIS for Alternatives 1, 2, and 3 into the SDEIS in addition to the No Action (Alt.4) and Preferred Alternative (Alternative 1A) Appendices C,E,F)
Analyze the potential for proposed infrastructure improvements (Runway 14032 and taxiway improvements) and Peak Period Pricing to induce demand for Logan Airport (Chapter 4)
Compare current measured noise levels from monitors in residential neighborhoods to modeled results from the Integrated Noise Model (INM) (Chapter 6)
Provide data on predicted change in activity by runway end, including daytime and nighttime distribution (Chapter 6)
Clarify discussion of proposed Centerfield Taxiway and its impact on the number of aircraft queuing on that and other taxiways while waiting to depart (Chapter 3)
Respond to written questions submitted by SDEIS panel member Mary Ellen Welch (Appendix A)
Produce a school year/school day 65 dB contour for the Preferred Alternative for the 19M Low Fleet. Research school day operating hours in relevant surrounding communities to determine the appropriate hours for the analysis. (Appendix E)