Regarding the Wednesday letter, “Commercial service necessary”: Really?
The opinion ignores so many facts about Paine Field and commercial airports it is hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the one fact most proponents of commercial air service either don’t know or won’t admit. Federal law gives priority to commercial flights. If Allegiant with their “subsidize us or we won’t come” business model wants to land and takeoff with their noisy, polluting, MD-80 planes, then all other activity at Paine Field would have to wait, including 787 or other ready-for-flight tests. Who wants to subsidize that and why?
Paine field has Boeing (poised to increase employment to 33,500 in the next five years), Future of Flight Museum, Flying Heritage Collection, Historic Flight Foundation, and several high-tech companies supporting Boeing in addition to a healthy general aviation presence.
Federal law does not allow local restrictions on number of flights or time of day if scheduled service starts up. Increasing subsidies to fit Allegiant’s model means more flights. And here is how the game is rigged: if Allegiant is subsidized then the FAA requires offering the same subsidies to other airlines. And, think a one-runway airport can’t get busy with commercial flights? San Diego International is a one-runway airport and has approximately 550 departures and arrivals per day.
Does Mr. Robinett or anyone really believe we should subsidize airlines for a few low-paying jobs with all the impacts and threats of FAA’s unrestricted growth scenario? If so, please explain why. If not, then please join us in calling for all reasonable, foreseeable, potential impacts to be identified (this is the law by the way) and for all mitigation costs to be paid by the airlines, not the taxpayers. Businesses should be able to stand on their own.