To the Editor

First Posted: 2/15/2009

To the Editor:

I am writing in regards to the recent articles and editorials relating to the airport and aviation interests. I would like to relate my thoughts as a professional in this industry.
Allow me to start by giving my credentials to substantiate my remarks. I have 40 years of aviation experience, having worked in management for eight different airlines, two of which I helped launch. Ive spent the last 12 years as a technical consultant working for airlines, banks, leasing companies and individuals. In doing this, I have worked at airports all over the world. I also have a private pilots license, though I have not been current for many years. Additionally my business partner lives in the
northwest and serves on the local airport board there. They have been able to solicit several aviation related businesses to locate on the airport thereby adding to their local economy.
I find it strange that our local officials are wanting out of the airport authority partly because some companies that had airplanes based at the local airport have gone out of business. If I remember correctly, we are trying to bring in new companies. Apparently we no longer want them if they have a company airplane. We are willing to support the local business park with millions of dollars of infrastructure to entice new businesses, however we seem to have forgotten that the local airport not only serves as a destination for numerous business aircraft, but it can also be a place where our city can solicit aviation connected businesses to locate. I realize that the $600,000 cost sharing required of the city is also a factor, but how much have we put into the industrial park?
Business aircraft are definitely not always a luxury. The National Business Aviation Association has a software program that allows subscribers to compare the cost of using a company airplane versus using
The commercial airlines for business trips. It takes into account the time and salaries spent by various employees using both methods of travel and includes all business expenses such as lodging required because the airlines does not provide the most optimum schedule for multiple destinations. It even includes a divorce factor where the people are required to spend a weekend away from home due to the airline schedule being unable to make the necessary connections. In addition to the cost
factor, security and privacy are also issues as business matters can be discussed without worrying about being overhear by nearby passengers on an airline. Our elected officials as well as the media seem to forget that we as US citizens have ownership of the largest fleet of non-commercial transport airplanes in the world. The President of the United States has at his personal disposal two identical copies of the largest and fanciest business type aircraft in the world. If memory serves me correct our current president recently took a very costly 30 minute flight to merely push his stimulus package.
The French aircraft that Citigroup was chastised for ordering had to be ordered over a year in advance and unlike the other USA and Canadian built aircraft it is the only one in its class that has three engines adding to its safety.
The thought of putting some one without aviation and/or airport experience on the Airport Authority to get an outside view is a noble idea but would be a misuse of the participants as well as other members of the board time. Aviation and airports have their own language and methods as well as mandated regulations that would have to be learned.
We moved to Mt. Airy eleven years ago, however I now consider it my home town. I am concerned about the decisions that affect our home town.

Judson Grove
Mount Airy

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