Letters to the Editor

No secret why Hilton Head Airport is expanding

This is in response to the May 7 letter concerning the Hilton Head Island Airport.

The Island Packet does not need an investigative reporter on this subject. After 10 years, the project was approved to expand the runway and the FAA is now paying for 90 percent of the cost.

For safety reasons, buffer zones for overruns need to be created around airports and, yes, that means buying property that encroaches on those zones. The cost to acquire that property is a one-time event to create an attractive airport to airlines that will reap decades of benefits and revenue.

Beaufort County receives revenue for every passenger that flies into our airport. Passenger revenue is down from 2007 because we now only have one airline flying into airport when we used to have three. The other two left because the airport runways and safety conditions were unattractive.

Meanwhile, Savannah has picked up the ball and taken all the potential Beaufort County revenue and transferred it to Georgia by renaming their facility the Savannah-Hilton Head Island International Airport and using pictures in its terminal advertising our island.

Airports bring commerce, business and notoriety to any community. We need a safe airport with a long enough runway to entice airlines to come back to our community and reclaim the revenue lost when other airlines left in the past. Otherwise, why have an airport at all?

Brian Turrisi

Hilton Head Island