Airport Community Meeting
November 28th, 20167 PM – 930 PM
On November 28th, the WAA held an airport community meeting in response to Westchester County officials announcing a proposal to lease its airport to an investment firm earlier this month. County Executive Rob Astorino unveiled the $140 million deal for a public-private partnership with Oaktree Capital Management to run the airport for the next 40 years. Although the proposal must still be approved by the Board of Legislators as well as the FAA, the WAA Board of Directors felt that it was a necessity to bring more information to the community. With this in mind, Oaktree Capital Management was eager to further explain the terms of the proposal.
Among 70 attendees, Oaktree explained more about their background in infrastructure capital investing in airports, ports, and rail currently owning 83 ports in the US. They have run the San Juan, Puerto Rico airport for the past five years and also ran the London City Airport in the UK until they recently sold it. The Oaktree team further described the freeing up of $150 million of capital to the County and making HPN better by growing capacity and creating opportunities for economic velocity. It was also mentioned that Oaktree initiated this partnership and that JetBlue backed it.
Many concerns were voiced throughout the meeting. Most alarming being that 80% of the airport includes General Aviation who currently has no representation penned within the proposal. Additional problems include why other airports have fought back against similar proposals and why Oaktree thinks their model will work here at HPN.
Hoping to win the trust of General Aviation, the Oaktree team went on to state that they would be open to put representation of the 80% at the table. Furthermore, they described three committees for possible participation: General Aviation Affairs Committee; General Aviation Technical Committee and General Aviation Operational Committee.
Emmitt McCann, managing partner of Oaktree, also responded that Private/Public business is evolving. He stated that in the past, there were no proper lines of incentives. The project at Stewart Airport did not work because there was no business model and Oaktree has had the benefit of observing this over time. They have talked extensively about the experiences with the San Juan Airport working, comparing and contrasting both projects
Although Oaktree is ultimately in control of decision making as proposed, there are Operational Standards that come directly from the County which they must adhere to or they will be in default of the agreement. An additional standard that Oaktree will be held to is an annual 139 inspection where their compliance determine AIP funds.
Other points that were addressed at the meeting include:
Last night, the WAA hosted a meeting between nearly 15 pilots at HPN and the control tower staff to further open the lines of communication at the airport. With great dialogue and wonderful interaction from the group, many questions and concerns were addressed. Leading the meeting was WAA Chairman Milt Hobbs, Mike Wold (HPN Tower Chief), and Ben Stuck of the FAA FSDO.
Having held these types of meetings before, the WAA hoped to spark further interest between the GA community of the airport. With a great show of support, this meeting now qualifies for Wings Credit and future gatherings will be led by long time tenant of the airport, Scott Dyer. Although not scheduled yet, please watch the website for quarterly meeting dates.
Below are highlights taken from the meeting to recap some significant information:
Very few times that anyone can receive a “line up and wait” clearance which helps expedite the flow of departures and arrivals- HPN is short one supervisor and has one on medical leave. BY FAA SOP, this clearance cannot be issued without a supervisor in the tower cab.
Congratulations to our esteemed board member John Johnston, who was presented with NBAA's Silk Scarf Award at the 2016 HPN regional forum. The silk scarf award honors outstanding business aviation community members and was given to John for his long-standing contributions to the industry during his career.
John was director of flight operations for the McGraw-Hill Companies, and prior to that, he served as director of aviation for Verizon (GTE). He has been in aviation for more than 38 years, and has type ratings in 10 different aircraft. John also holds an ATP for both SEL and MEL aircraft; flight instructor ASEL, AMEL and instruments. John has been part of the local aviation community since 2001, and has been active with not only the WAA board, but the Career Fair planning.
On September 15th, Westchester County Airport hosted the final 2016 NBAA Regional Forum setting a record for the venue and becoming the association's second-highest attended regional forum in the event's history. In efforts to further accommodate their members for this important event, NBAA constructed a 52,000 square-foot pavilion, featuring 184 indoor exhibitors and 52 aircraft on display.
Local leaders praised NBAA and the business aviation community for what the industry brings to the region through the jobs, connectivity and economic activity that business aviation supports in the local area.
"We really do appreciate your business here," said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. "This is an important industry to this county. You mean a lot to us. Thank you for doing business here."
"NBAA and its member organizations are part of what propels our economy forward," noted New York state Assemblyman David Buchwald, adding that last year, New York passed a measure exempting all general aviation aircraft transactions from the state's sales and use tax. "There's a significant opportunity for your industry to expand here in New York."
The WAA was honored to be a part of such a significant event and bringing recognition to the importance of our industry within the local and regional areas.
With the DNC occurring in PHL this week, a TFR will again be in place and HPN will be one of two gateway screening airports (the other being MDT - Harrisburg, PA) for GA aircraft to get screened that wish to fly to PHL during the period of 25-28 July. The PHL TFR will be in effect next week from Monday - Thursday during the hours of 1000-0100 daily. Our (HPN) screening operations will be conducted at the "Incident Command Post" trailer adjacent to Taxiway "Charlie" starting at 1500 and securing at 2300 since that is the time that the HPN control tower secures. MDT's screening time will also start at 1500 but they will secure at midnight. The question came-up regarding the gap in time between 1000 when the TFR goes hot and commencement of screening at 1500...here is the answer that was provided by our coordination team overseeing this operation:
Since PHL is located within the 10 NM ring and the 10/30 NM ring will be in effect at that time, operators are not allowed to arrive or depart PHL until we start screening at 1500. As an alternative, according to the NOTAM, operators may go into PNE (Northeast Philadelphia Airport) during this TFR but must be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan, maintain two way radio contact with ATC and continuously squawk an ATC-assigned discrete beacon code. They do not have to be gateway screened.
The NOTAM is published and provides specific guidance but basically, once the TFR is in effect at PHL, all non-commercial flights desiring to fly into and out of PHL must be registered at least one day in advance and then must be screened before commencing their flight to or from PHL. Pilots may commence registering their flights as of 0800 on Friday, 22 Jul.
The County and airport management have wisely taken note of increased competition from nearby metropolitan area airports (e.g. Stewart, Teterboro, Oxford, Republic and Danbury) to be home-base for corporate and FBO (Fixed Based Operator) aircraft. Here is an infographic regarding recent statistics.
The Senate past the FAA Reauthorization Bill which now has the number H.R. 636. Below is a NEW CONTACT CONGRESS "button" which should be used in support of H.R. 636 and opposition to H.R. 4441. Even though you may have contacted congress for S. 2658, it would be prudent to send this new Contact Congress to your legislators.
Washington, DC, April 19, 2016 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomed today's passage by the U.S. Senate of a bill to reauthorize funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that includes important, targeted solutions to identified challenges, but without language for creating a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system, overseen by an airline-centric board of directors and funded through onerous new user fees.
The legislation, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, was introduced on March 9, and reported out by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on March 16.
"On behalf of NBAA's more than 10,000 member companies, we applaud this bipartisan step toward implementing a smart, targeted approach to funding the FAA’s efforts to modernize what is already the world's safest ATC system, without going down the dangerous path of turning our ATC system over to a private board," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
The bill, H.R.636, includes measures, widely supported by the broad aviation community, for streamlining the certification process for aviation technologies, raising the bar on aviation safety, integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System and accelerating implementation of a Next Generation ("NextGen") air traffic management system. The bill also provides a plan for the U.S. Department of Transportation to modernize third-class medical requirements for pilots of small general aviation aircraft.
The Senate bill’s House counterpart (H.R.4441), introduced in early February, also contains many positive elements that reflect a consensus within the aviation community; unfortunately, the bill includes a risky provision for creating a privatized ATC system funded through new user fees and overseen by an airline-dominated board of directors.
Bolen urged the general aviation community to continue to use NBAA's online Contact Congress resource to reach out to elected officials, to support the continued advancement of the Senate FAA reauthorization bill.
Below is the most recent call to action from NBAA urging members to express strong support for the Senate FAA reauthorization bill, S.2658, which includes many of the reforms general aviation has been promoting, but does not take us down the dangerous path of privatizing our air traffic system and funding it with user fees. Please read and take action to support this very important bill.
Dear NBAA member:
As you know, the business aviation community has for some time been battling proposals for creating a privatized Air Traffic Control (ATC) system, which have been offered as part of the debate underway in Congress over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
As part of this battle, we have mobilized strongly against H.R.4441, FAA reauthorization legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which is being pushed by the big airlines, and calls for a privatized ATC, funded through new user fees and overseen by an airline-centric board of directors.
With this message, I want to report on some good news: a recently introduced Senate FAA reauthorization bill (S.2658) sets aside this risky privatization scheme, in favor of a smart, targeted approach to FAA reauthorization and aviation system modernization.
Equally important, the bill recognizes that the nation's airports and airspace operate in the public interest, and should serve the public, including all aviation stakeholders and the citizens and communities they serve.
NBAA strongly supports the legislation, and I am asking you to do so as well.
Tell Your Members of Congress You Support S.2658
In short, this bill includes many important, targeted solutions designed to ensure the United States remains the world leader in aviation five, 10 and 25 years from now.
The legislation also reflects a number of priorities identified by NBAA and other aviation-stakeholder groups, including measures to streamline the certification process for aviation technologies, raise the bar on aviation safety, integrate unmanned aircraft systems, accelerate implementation of a Next Generation ("NextGen") aviation system and provide a plan for the U.S. Department of Transportation to modernize third-class medical requirements for small-aircraft pilots.
Simply put, this is the right bill, at the right time, and along with our endorsement for the legislation, we have created a message for the association's online Contact Congress resource. You can send the message to your elected officials, to let them know S.2658 has your support as well.
By contacting your members of Congress today on this issue, we can call upon lawmakers to say "yes" to smart FAA reauthorization and modernization, and "no" to a distracting and unneeded debate over ATC privatization. I urge you to notify your legislators today of your support for S.2658.
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association
Although the bill is stalled, we still encourage you to Contact Congress and keep opposing the Reauthorization Bill.
As taken from AvWeb Feb. 21st:
The controversial FAA reauthorization bill that would create a private air traffic control organization will not be introduced in the full House this week as originally scheduled, according to Politico. Quoting unnamed sources, the Washington political publication says it was told by a "leadership aide" that the House Transportation Committee, which approved an amended version of the original bill last week, is putting off presentation to the full House. The sources reportedly told Politico that block opposition from the Democrats and grumblings from within the Republican ranks, not to mention vocal opposition from numerous industry groups, prompted the bill's champion, Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., to delay introduction while he consolidates support. That likely means more changes are coming to the bill, whose centerpiece is the formation of a federally chartered not-for-profit corporation to take over air traffic services. It's not clear how long the bill will be delayed.
Read Full Article Here
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