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"Port Authority and FAA at odds over Teterboro Airport"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 04:13:35 -0500
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Port Authority and FAA at odds over Teterboro Airport
BY ANA M. ALAYA
The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger
The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said yesterday the
agency will move ahead with plans to reduce flights at Teterboro Airport
despite stiff opposition from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Anthony Coscia, chairman of the bistate agency that operates Teterboro, said
he intends to implement at least five initiatives over the next six months,
most of which will reduce the number of flights at the Bergen County airport
by 10 percent.
The agency plans to enforce an 80,000-pound airplane weight limit and ban
so-called Stage Two aircraft, jets manufactured before the mid-1980s that
produce a lot of noise -- two measures opposed by the Federal Aviation
Administration, officials said.
Coscia said he also has negotiated with the Federal Reserve Bank and other
companies to voluntarily cut the number of overnight flights at Teterboro in
half, and talks are under way to possibly shift some flights to Stewart
International Airport in Orange County, N.Y. There is also a plan to
increase landing fees at Teterboro.
"We have an interest in operating Teterboro Airport in a manner that is
safe, reliable, and takes into consideration the needs of the community --
considerations they may have not received in the past," said Coscia, whose
agency also operates Newark Liberty International, John F. Kennedy
International and LaGuardia airports.
Teterboro, which handles mainly corporate jets, is one of the busiest small
airfields in the nation, handling more than 200,000 flights last year. But
after four accidents at the airport over the past year, the Port Authority
has stepped up efforts to reduce the amount of air traffic in the congested
The changes Coscia wants to implement could land the agency in court or
jeopardize the funding it receives from the FAA.
In a letter to the Port Authority in July, the FAA said it does not "see any
relation between safety and the kinds of restrictions on airport use" that
the Port Authority has proposed, including restrictions on nighttime
operations, lowering aircraft weight limits and increasing airport fees.
FAA spokeswoman Arlene Murray said yesterday Teterboro has an obligation to
keep the airport open to the public without restrictions. If not, the
airport could lose federal funding.
"Our position on those issues are spelled out in the letter. Teterboro
Airport, like Kennedy and LaGuardia and Newark, is to be open to the public
for use," Murray said.
Coscia said the Port Authority is prepared for a fight.
"We feel we can improve on the FAA safety standards," he said. "We have
taken an appropriate legal position to the extent that the FAA takes action
to enjoin us. If a court proceeding is the next step, we're prepared."
U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-9th Dist.), who was successful in banning planes
over 100,000 pounds at Teterboro, went one step further than Coscia, vowing
an all-out "war" with the FAA if the agency tries to halt the Port
"If the FAA does not work with the Port Authority" on the flight
restrictions, Rothman said, "then they're going to have trouble with their
budget every single year I'm in Congress," said Rothman, a member of the
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, which has jurisdiction
over the FAA's budget. "They have been warned."
In addition to reducing the number of flights, the Port Authority plans to
renovate the runways, including repaving, regrading, remarking, and
installing 300-foot-long, inclining foam concrete barriers designed to slow
down and stop planes.
An air monitoring system recently was installed as well to test the level of
pollution in the atmosphere at and near the airport, which is surrounded by
schools, homes and industry.
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