Letters to the Editor

Continued delays will kill island airport

While I try never to say "I told you so," an article in the Packet on May 11 shows how right I have been for years about the need to eliminate and trim trees around Hilton Head Island Airport and extend the runway as soon as possible. Delta left, and US Airways is "frustrated" with the situation.

Very small groups from the St. James Baptist Church congregation and a few Port Royal Plantation and Palmetto Hall residents are exerting every effort to delay tree work and the runway extension, knowing full well that if they can impose delays for at least three years, the FAA tree funds will disappear and, at that point, airport certification will die, as will our airport.

Any suggestion that a runway of 4,720 feet is adequate is absurd. Delta has phased out turboprops. US Airways is doing so as well and adamantly supports a 5,400-foot runway.

Any suggestion that the airport does not generate enough income or tourism is clearly answered by US Airway's statement that the demand is there, but the facilities are inadequate.

If you want to live with ever-expanding development on the U.S. 278, S.C. 46 and S.C. 170 corridors; longer travel time to Savannah; and our diminished attraction to visitors and, unfortunately, the possibility of no Heritage, then live with the ongoing airport delaying actions.

As for me, I rebel at small groups of dissidents trying to impose their will on this community and its majority.

Chuck Raley

Hilton Head Island

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