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The Record, Tuesday, March 6, 2001
Rothman calls for probe
Firm says it
obeys rules at Teterboro
By DANIEL SFORZA
Rep. Steve Rothman on Monday
asked state and federal authorities to investigate whether a charter airline operating at
Teterboro Airport violates airport regulations and, if so, to shut it down.
Indigo, a Chicago-based airline
that operates scheduled flights between Teterboro and Chicago, has been at the airport
since August, running flights up to four times a day each way.
"If Indigo is indeed
violating airport rules . . . Indigo should be forced to cease operations at Teterboro
Airport immediately," the Fair Lawn Democrat wrote in letters to both the Federal
Aviation Administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Teterboro, an airport used mainly
by private pilots and corporate jets, is neither equipped nor approved to handle
commercial flights. Scheduled service is also not allowed, Port Authority officials said.
Indigo officials say they do not
violate FAA or Port Authority regulations because they operate as a charter service that
specializes in chartering one seat instead of the entire plane.
"The request is unnecessary,
inappropriate, and, frankly, I would characterize it as a waste of valuable government
resources," said Indigo's attorney, Aaron Goerlich. "The operations that Indigo
is conducting are fully consistent with all legal requirements."
Indigo is licensed as a public
charter operator by the U.S. Department of Transportation and is certified by the FAA.
Port Authority officials have
said they are investigating Indigo's operation to make sure that it meets Teterboro
"The Port Authority is
reviewing Indigo's operations to determine if Indigo is following both Port Authority
rules and FAA regulations regarding what constitutes scheduled service," PA spokesman
Greg Trevor said. "If Indigo is indeed offering scheduled service in violation of
Port Authority rules, we will take all steps necessary to make sure that Indigo complies
with Port Authority rules."
FAA officials did not return
Flights on Indigo can be booked
on the Internet or through a travel agent. Each one-way flight costs $629, similar to
commercial fares. Indigo flies a fleet of four Dassault Falcon 20 jets, which seat eight
The service runs two morning
flights, as well as an afternoon and an evening flight. Each flight is numbered, for
example, Flight 100, Flight 102, etc.
Matthew Andersson, Indigo's
chairman, has said he wants to expand the fleet to 100 planes and fly routes between
Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Chicago, and Teterboro, as well as other smaller
airports around New York City.
"I am also highly disturbed
that Indigo intends to expand its operations," Rothman wrote. "With plans for
this major expansion in capacity . . . it is critical that the PA review Indigo's
practices immediately before its service proliferates and even more local residents are
force to suffer."
Rothman has been in the forefront
of complaints regarding the tiny airport, saying that noise generated by the large volume
of corporate jets negatively impacts the lives of nearby residents.
Teterboro handles about 500
flights daily, most of which are jets.