By Harrison Freer
I’d like to address Nov. 25’s editorial, in which you questioned the value of the Glens Falls airport.
To start, I agree it may be time to look at the vision for the airport (GFL) in an evolving economic climate.
I also agree reducing county costs should be examined. However, the tone of the editorial was quite biased. General Aviation (GA) airports as stalking horses for local political rhetoric is all too common, yet freedom to fly is an American tradition found in few places. And GA airports are an important part of a national transportation system, which is constantly evolving to keep pace with changes. There is a reason the county board voted 13-1 for the 2013 budget, with Mr. Westcott in opposition because he wanted to cut the airport budget by 50 percent.
Namely, the airport has a plan, approved by all stakeholders (county, state, FAA, local interests), and is executing the plan.
As for the economic impact, a quick search of state Department of Transportation would have found the May 2011 report which pegged GFL as follows:
“37 full- and part-time jobs and $6.6 million in expenditures are the direct result of on-airport businesses, including airport sponsor expenditures, and visitor spending at the airport. Including indirect expenditures, the total impact for Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport was $8.3 million, supporting 53 jobs.”
I think the airport also plays a vital role to help us remain relevant. For example, I submit Speaker John Boehner’s visit to the region in August would likely have been a no-go for scheduling if GFL was not available, no matter how many “fancy crackers” he was offered on a limo ride from Albany. If you discuss the GFL airport again, please do it in an informed, balanced way.