Arguments for 5,000 feet:
Arguments for 5,400 feet:
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The newer, 70-passenger, more efficient regional jets coming into the fleet can serve Atlanta and Charlotte with 5,000 feet, but it is unlikely these longer-range aircraft would be committed to Hilton Head Island, at least initially.
Advocates of not extending the runway (arguing the availability of Q400 turboprops) miss that Delta has announced it will be all-jet shortly, that US Airways is expected to follow, that FAA funding would be lost, that 5,000 feet is needed for non-commercial aircraft, and most importantly, that U.S. airlines have little interest in the Q400.
The most pressing issue is extending the runway before US Airways, which is phasing out its turboprops, discontinues service here.
The logical approach is to approve the 5,400-foot plan, get to work on the design (and determine whether more than 5,000 feet can be built on airport property) and defer a final decision on 5,400 feet until we have more facts.
Stu Rodman, chairman
Beaufort County Council
Hilton Head Island