Letters to Media

Bookmark and Share

Bolen/Bunce Opinon on NorthJersey.com: Teterboro Airport is a good neighbor

June 28, 2011

When a local columnist penned a recent piece calling for a ban on all business jet activity at Teterboro Airport, and raising questions about safety at the facility, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce responded with an opinion piece of their own.

Although it's sometimes treated with scorn among media commentators and others, Teterboro Airport offers residents of southern Bergen County a valuable resource.

This general aviation airport is an important economic generator for the community and the region, supporting good jobs, a sizable payroll and growing tax revenues. It provides these and other benefits while operating in a safe, secure manner year-round.

So, maybe it's time to shed a little light, instead of only heat, on the situation at Teterboro.

First, to the issue of safety. In recognizing the need for safe operations at airports like Teterboro, Congress has for decades provided grant funding for local investments all across the country that help neighborhoods and airports safely co-exist.

At Teterboro, much of that grant funding has been put to good use, for example, in providing upgrades to lighting, signage, runways, taxiways and other assets that help enhance the safety of aircraft movements on and around the airport.

Individuals and companies flying into Teterboro also do their part to operate safely. Approach and departure patterns are centered on safety in the airspace over the airport. Pilots flying airplanes for business operate under the highest safety standards, using the same training methods as those in use for aircraft serving the nation's large "hub" airports.

And what about the safety of airplane traffic on the airport grounds? Well, as just one measure in that regard, special "arrestor beds" have been installed at Teterboro to prevent possible aircraft overruns.

Data on traffic at Teterboro show that this safety emphasis works. Teterboro is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration as a safe airport, and although the FAA has shown time and again that traffic levels at Teterboro and other airports are not causally related to accidents, we know that the traffic history for Teterboro shows that incidents very rarely occur.

The noise issue

Of course, a concern that closely follows safety when it comes to Teterboro is the issue of noise from the airport. Here are the facts: Airplanes flying into Teterboro today are quieter than ever before. Nighttime operating hours are limited, curfews are enforced, a voluntary ban on the noisiest airplanes ("Stage II" jets) is in effect and noise-abatement procedures have long been developed for takeoffs and landings.

FAA funding has been used to lessen the impact of traffic noise in residential homes, schools and other buildings located near the airport.

Do these and other "fly-quiet" initiatives at Teterboro have any effect? Again, the data tell the story: Teterboro officials maintain a noise-abatement office with a complaint hot line for neighbors to report concerns, and in recent years, complaints to the hot line have declined.

Clearly, those who manage and use Teterboro Airport are deeply invested in conducting operations in the most safe, secure, efficient and quiet manner possible.

What does the local area get in return for that investment? Once again, the data tell the story.

Economic activity

The airport generates more than 15,000 jobs, $670 million in wages, and $1.8 billion in annual economic activity in the region. Ninety-four percent of the more than 1,200 people working at Teterboro live within 15 miles of its fence line. The airport also supports nearly 4,000 more jobs in Bergen County at companies with facilities on or near the airport, as well as hotels, restaurants, car-rental companies, dry cleaners and other enterprises that depend on the airport for year-round business.

In short, Teterboro Airport is a business multiplier for citizens and companies in the local area, helping to generate jobs, economic activity and local investment in a very challenging economy.

While Teterboro is at work for Bergen County, those who use it are working to be good neighbors to residents of the surrounding community.