Letters to the Editor

Airport master plan raises more questions

The consultant's draft of the master plan for the Hilton Head Island Airport is available and contains tons of surprising new information. Has anyone heard our politicians or candidates say they support a runway length needed for commercial aviation but want to keep any expansion within the existing footprint? As for runway length, page D-6 states: "Due to the constraints of runway length and obstructions at (the airport), the existing airport facilities are marginally adequate for viable service to the Charlotte and Atlanta hubs at this time." However, the consultant recommends the expansion of the footprint by acquiring 40.37 acres of property (page 86). Other consultant recommendations, totally unrelated to the above runway length include:

  • The construction of general aviation hangars at a project cost of$9.29 million, excluding land costs (page 87).
  • The loss of an additional 25 acres of tree buffers on the Port Royal Plantation side of the airport (pages 79 and 86).
  • A new tax on commercial passengers to fund $643,272, or Beaufort County's share of this $44 million project (page 94).
  • The risk that if commercial service declines or is lost for reasons other than runway length, the county will have to pick up the bill.
  • Did the consultant forget to present the 4,600-foot option? The "do-nothing" option is starting to look much better with this new draft report. Will there be anyone else asking questions at today's meeting?

    Jim FisherHilton Head Island