, Salem, MA

December 7, 2013

Letter: Traffic on the wane at Beverly Airport

The Salem News

— To the editor:

The recent article on the Beverly Airport control tower (“Keep control towers open, delegation urges,” Nov. 28) is so typical of how our government continues to ignore the need to cut spending. I am a pilot and attended the North Shore Community College aviation science program in 1971. Beverly Airport was a very busy place, with constant takeoffs and landings from new student pilots along with the many private aircraft that were based there. Aircraft movements back then were more than 200,000 per year. Today, we have 60,000 movements per year and the many private aircraft that were once based at Beverly have left for less strict and less expensive airfields. At one time Beverly had four flight schools; now it has only one. All the airports mentioned in this article that are scheduled for closing are very low-use airports and do not justify an expensive, underused control tower.

These towers are so low on the FAA order of importance that they contract these facilities to private contractors and they are open only certain hours of the day. How important is something if you only need it sometime? Yes, a tower adds a level of safety to any airport but in the early 1970s with all the air traffic Beverly had, all went well, and the pilots followed FAA procedures for uncontrolled airfields. If it worked back then it can definitely work now with the low activity count. The time has come for our congressional members to use logic and common sense when it comes to budget matters. Stop looking out for yourself and take care of the business we elected you to do.

George Stankiewicz