, Salem, MA

December 7, 2013

Letter: Airport numbers don’t add up

The Salem News

— To the editor:

I am writing in response to your recent article about operations at Beverly Municipal Airport. The article outlined how the Massachusetts legislative delegation was urging the FAA not to withhold funding for the tower at the airport. In the article, it was reported that the airport handles approximately 60,000 operations annually and that in July, a monthly “record” was set with 157 commercial operations.

The math behind funding this control tower just doesn’t add up. Even if you choose to believe that there are 60,000 operations per year, this number is well below the threshold of 150,000 operations set by the FAA to continue funding. The “record” month of 157 commercial operations extrapolates in a best case scenario to less than 2,000 operations per year, far short of the 10,000 commercial operations per year guideline set by the FAA to continue funding.

If the federal government cannot withhold funding for an airport that claims less than half of the required total operations and less than 20 percent of the required commercial operations to remain open, then what can we, or should we, withhold funding for?

Furthermore, I find the claim of 60,000 operations annually to be an absolute absurdity. Here again, the math just doesn’t add up; 60,000 operations works out to just under seven operations per hour on a 24/7/365 basis. Does anyone really believe that there is a takeoff or a landing at this airport every nine minutes? If you exclude the overnight hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. 60,000 operations per year calculates to an operation every six minutes. Even more unbelievable.

In my opinion, the airport tower funding should be withheld by the FAA, and the airport should be funded solely by the operations that actually take place there, or closed permanently.

Keith Lucy