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The Shopper News, May 10, 2000

Officials probe Boeing jets’
possible use of Teterboro

By Daniel McGowan, Staff Writer,

Local residents who are active in the fight against noise from Teterboro airport are currently entertaining suspicions that matters will be getting worse.

Specifically, they are concerned that two changers are on the horizon. The first is the potential allowing of Boeing business jets to operate out of the airport. The second is the threat of regularly scheduled flights.

While both are currently forbidden by the charter of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- owners and operators of the Teterboro facility -- watchful residents have reason to believe those regulations may change.

These matters are being looked into by the Teterboro Airport Noise Abatement Committee (TANAC), which is comprised of representatives from the municipalities surrounding Teterboro.

According to Paul Griffo, Rutherford’s representative to the committee, Teterboro has begun to offer regularly scheduled charter flights. The evidence, said TANAC officials, is on the new Web site known as Flightserv.com. They maintained the site is now offering reservations on scheduled charter flights between Teterboro and DeKalb-Peachtree airport in Atlanta, Ga.

According to Ralph Tragale, manager of government and community relations for the aviation department of the PA-NJ/NY, the Port Authority continues to forbid such activity.

"It’s illegal under FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations to have regularly-scheduled anything [out of Teterboro]," he said. "If we, or Johnson Controls [the private company who provides air traffic control at Teterboro] found out about it,

we would put a stop to it."

Tragale said he has heard the same rumor about Flightserv.com.

"Johnson Controls is looking into that" said Tragale. "If it is true, we’ll put a stop to it."

Teterboro Airport Manager Phil Engle did not return calls for comment.

Meanwhile, Griffo reported having been told by Port Authority officials that the Boeing corporation is currently lobbying elected officials in New York and New Jersey to allow its new business jets to fly out of Teterboro airport.

These aircraft weigh approximately 175,000 pounds. The current limit for planes operating at Teterboro is 100,000 pounds, as dictated by the Port Authority’s charter.

Tragale confirmed that Boeing has been lobbying officials, and stated that officials have asked the Port Authority their reasons for forbidding the aircraft.

We explain[ed] that we don’t feel it’s appropriate at that airport," he said. "The Port Authority has no plans to lift that [weight] limit."

He pointed out that while the airport is currently repaving a runway (due to cracks, and age), they have opted not to engineer it to support weights higher than the current limit, as they might have chosen.

Tragale did explain that the regulations could change if governors Christie Whitman or George Pataki (who jointly lead the Port Authority) decided to do so.

It is this caveat which TANAC representatives said have them worried.

"The Port Authority is assuring us that it will not allow jets over 100,000 pounds for the foreseeable future," said Griffo. "Nobody has said they won’t do it forever. We’re concerned that without legislation legally tying the governor, they’ll eventually change it."

TANAC said it is currently lobbying for legislation to solidify this weight restriction.

In the meantime, residents and officials expressed frustration over their on-going troubles with the airport.

"It’s like fighting the tide," said Wood-Ridge Councilman (and representative to TANAC) Richard Carbonaro, referring to the airport’s seemingly inevitable expansions.

Griffo, likewise, said he is anxious about the future. "When is enough enough?" he asked. "How many more planes a day can we have flying over our heads?

Residents who wish to lodge complaints about airplane noise may call the Teterboro Noise complaint line at 288-8828.

Complaints are monitored by the Port Authority, and compiled in town-by-town reports, which are sent to the mayors of each municipality.

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