As a recent retiree to Hilton Head Island, I am bemused by the ongoing debate concerning the proposed lengthening of the runway at Hilton Head Island Airport.
There is so much disinformation from vested interests as to the supposed benefits of lengthening the runway, that basic facts are being overlooked.
It is a fallacy that the island needs a longer runway to continue to attract commercial service to Hilton Head. Delta's decision to cease service here was based on economic considerations, not runway length. The fact that Delta also discontinued service to destinations with far longer runways is conveniently buried by lengthening proponents. US Airways' use of the Dash 8 turboprop is likely to be extended for another 10 years, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
Lengthening the runway to 5,400 feet to accommodate the whims of a small group of pilots will cost an estimated $50 million to $60 million. I don't understand how the federal government could justify this expense, at present, when so many Americans are suffering economically.
The argument that increasing the runway length will promote growth on Hilton Head is a "furphy." Friends from Europe and Australia have visited over the last few years and no one has had any problems with flights. However, there has been disturbing criticism of the "tired" hotel accommodations. Surely, money spent on our existing infrastructure would be far more beneficial than accommodating the interests of the "entitled" few.
Hilton Head Island