Cleveland is considering closing Burke Lakefront for local reason
BKL and CLE have assured by contract that neither would stop being an airport
National Closure Efforts Trend could cripple this important mode of interstate commerce
An airport that has water on 3 sides and a multi-lane interstate highway on the 4th is the subject for debate about closure in Cleveland. Three local articles make a number of arguments as to why Burke Lakefront Airport (BKL) should be obliterated; many shibboleths are given, but ultimately, the real motive is in revealed in several drawings of what the future might hold—land development of prime waterfront real estate.
Airport closure disease is becoming a national problem. Frequently under the guise of ersatz claims of noise or air pollution, a careful assessment of the facts lead to a diagnosis of real estate investment interest infection.
As a matter of public policy, such proposals are myopic in focus. Like the interstate that borders BKL, a federal system of airports was created. Funding for the purchase and development of these essential interstate aviation modes was authorized by Congress based on the tax dollars to be committed for this infrastructure was IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST!!! The elected officials from all 50 states have voted repeatedly (almost annually) to appropriate this investment of federal dollars on THE PREMISE THAT THESE AIRPORTS WOULD BE THERE TO FACILITATE MOVEMENT AMONG THE STATES AND WITH INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE.
A visionary Congressman from California, way back in 1981, was instrumental in creating the critical provisions of the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1981 . In particular, his idea was to create a “national airport system plan to provide for the development of public-use airports in the United States to provide a safe and efficient system of public-use airports to anticipate and meet the needs of civil aeronautics, to meet requirements in support of the national defense, and to meet the needs of the postal service.” Rep. Clausen was a representative of the people of Santa Rosa for 20 years, a WWII carrier pilot and a businessman.
For more than 40 years, the FAA has worked with airport sponsors, cities, counties, states, regional planning organizations, all stakeholders and users to create the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). Following the policy directives of the 1981 act, the plan provides all an open, comprehensive and detailed review of a NATIONAL system of airports.
As mentioned recently—
Airports Under Attack—what’s NEEDED : the FAA Team Of Dickson, Nichols And Griffin To Be More Visible And Heard
Cleveland do not make a mistake with the airport by the lake.
By General Aviation News Staff · March 31, 2022 ·
CLEVELAND, Ohio — The future of Burke Lakefront Airport (KBKL), including the possibility of closing the city-owned facility that occupies a prime piece of waterfront real estate in downtown Cleveland, has been thrown in doubt, according to a new report from Cleveland.com.
“It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the future of Burke is under discussion. During a campaign debate last fall, Mayor Justin Bibb, then a candidate for the city’s top job, said he favored what he called ‘an honest conversation about the future of Burke,’” the report from Susan Glaser says.
It notes that former Mayor Frank Jackson was “opposed to even discussing the possibility.”
The airport, which is near the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame, had 40,296 takeoffs and landings in 2021, down from 100,321 in 2000, according to FAA data.
At least Cleveland city officials realize they can’t just bulldoze the airport, like Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who demolished Meigs Field under cover of darkness back in 2003.
“We cannot take a bulldozer to the airport like Mayor Daley did,” the report quotes Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack as saying.
But McCormack is also quoted as saying it’s “morally wrong” that the airport is a “massive piece of property on our waterfront that is owned by the citizens of Cleveland that is fenced off by barbed wire and that the people of Cleveland have no access to.”
LOCAL COVERAGE OF PROPOSED BKL CLOSURE:
But with United pulling its hub out of Cleveland, the air service market in Northeast Ohio has changed:
- Hopkins by June will have fewer than a third of the annual operations it can handle before running into significant flight delays. Burke already has less than one-fourth the traffic it can have without delays.
- Other airports in the region, including Akron-Canton Airport and Cuyahoga County Airport, are also operating at far less than their maximum capacity.
- Burke operates at a loss — $1.3 million in 2013 alone — deficits that are paid for with landing fees charged to the airlines at Hopkins.
- The subsidizing of Burke is set against tightening pressure on Hopkins to stay on top of its debt. Hopkins owes $845 million from its purchase of the I-X Center and construction of a runway and Concourse D, lined with gates for the regional flights that United is dropping. Fitch Ratings downgraded most of Hopkins’ debt in February, citing concerns the airport could lose as much as a third of its traffic
2. Discussions have started on closing Burke Lakefront Airport, but shouldn’t they be public? Today in Ohio
… including the possibility of closing the airport and reusing the 450 prime waterfront acres downtown.
3. Should Cleveland’s Burke Lakefront Airport be closed? Local leaders are starting to discuss the possibility
…city officials for the first time in years appear willing to entertain the possibility that the region no longer needs the small airport, which operates as a reliever facility to much larger Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, about 15 miles away.
The future of Burke isn’t the only airport-related topic that leaders plan to discuss. Potentially even more controversial: The possibility of moving oversight of Hopkins and Burke, both owned by the city, and the county-owned Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights, to a more regional governance structure. One alternative might include transferring ownership of the airports to the port authority, for example.
Traffic volume peaked in 2000, with 100,321 takeoffs and landings, according to Federal Aviation Administration data, falling to 53,987 in 2010 and 49,278 in 2015. In 2021, the airport logged 40,296 takeoffs and landings – about the same number as 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The majority of flights are categorized as general aviation traffic, including business charter flights, medical transport, sports teams, entertainers, flight schools and others.
A PLEA FROM CALIFORNIA
“It is idiotic to close Santa Monica. Again, I feel for the residents who have to face this. It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t have bought a home near an airport if you didn’t want the noise. But it’s just a matter of fact that the planes needed to go somewhere. This is a crisis that no one really wants to talk about because no one really thinks about it unless it is directly affecting them, but we are all starting to feel it. And with gas now going up, aviation gas always being a dollar or two more than regular gas, pilots are being selective where they go. And they all really wish that Santa Monica residents didn’t do this. They got what they wanted but made life hell for everyone else.”
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