Monday, July 23, 2007

Another ending; perhaps a beginning

Happy Monday, even if it's a rainy, windy one.

I was saddened, although hardly surprised, to read that Tweed-New Haven Airport is down, again, to one airline, going to one place.

The latest casualty, Pan Am Clipper Connection, flew 19-passenger puddle-jumpers from New Haven to such garden spots as Trenton, N.J., and Elmira, N.Y. It got close to Washington, D.C. at BWI (Baltimore-Washington International) Airport, about a 40-minute train ride from the district, but Larry DeNardis, the former congressman and college president who now heads the airport authority, said that wasn't good enough. But the airline pulled out because there wasn't enough business going to Trenton and Bedford, Mass.

What we're doing here in New Haven is making the airport a self-fulfilling prophecy of not being worth the subsidy that the city pays to run it. That's like the youngster who kills his parents and then asks for mercy because he's an orphan.

People bought houses near the airport because they cost less than in other place in town and then were shocked, shocked you hear, to learn that there are airplanes taking off and landing.

According to them, it's bad enough to have privately owned single-engine and small twin-engine airplanes operating out of Tweed. We just can't have (gasp) jets that go to places like Chicago (we did once but managed to kill that, too) and Florida and Charlotte, N.C. and Pittsburgh.

H. Richter Elser, the latest Republican sacrificial lamb to run for mayor, says we need aim Tweed flights toward Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod, not toward Atlanta.

Mr. Elser, you are dead wrong. We need to aim the flights where people want to go. A regional jet is quiet, can safely operate from Tweed and can reach the airline hubs or go nonstop to places like Florida.

Those who read this post regularly (bless you) read about my recent trip to Florida.

We flew out of Westchester County Airport nonstop on Air Tran to Orlando. It's a great flight on new airplanes (Boeing 717-the latest grandson of the DC-9). The only problem is that Westchester charges $21 a day for parking.

We need air routes, Mr. DeNardis, that go somewhere people want to go. Actions have consequences. People who buy houses near airports have to be willing to put up with a little noise. That doesn't mean we don't work as hard as possible to make the place safe, but we don't work to kill relationships with airlines that go to places to which people want to travel and then say the airport isn't worth the subsidy.

Page 2

Speaking of subsidy, the city will proudly roll out its identification card Tuesday (July 24, 2007) in a 9 a.m. ceremony. This card will allow every resident, for a fee, to have a city-issued identification to allow them to open bank accounts.

I say subsidy because although some charity that the city never dealt with before is paying a quarter of a million dollars to run the program for the first year, it hasn't committed to run it for the second or third or fourth year. Sounds familiar for New Haven, doesn't it?

Well, the city hasn't done its homework.

Of all the days to roll out this new venture, it picks Tuesday, which just happens to be the blackest day of the year on the Jewish calendar.

It's Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the month of Av. On this day in history, the first Jewish Temple was destroyed, the second Jewish Temple was destroyed, the Jews were kicked out of Spain, World War I started, which led to World War II and the Holocaust, and lots more.

One thing you don't do on Tisha B'Av, besides eat and drink and hold any kind of celebration, is start any ventures. You don't do any business deals, although one is not forbidden to work as one is on the Sabbath and Yom Kippur, the other 25-hour fast.

So, good luck to the city on its new venture. I just wish they would have picked a better day to start it.

Until next time...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your comments about Tweed-New Haven Airport brought back memories of my five years as news editor of The Daily Item in Port Chester, N.Y., during the latter 1970s. Westchester County Airport was just a few miles up the road from us, and it seemed like some local homeowners and their political allies were always complaining about the noise from the airport. I never understood why the airport -- which was opened during World War II as part of the air defenses for metropolitan New York -- was so frequently maligned by people living in houses that were built two or three decades later. Personally, I think the airport has tried to be a good neighbor; and yes, I may be a bit biased because I piloted Cessna 152s for a time (out of small airfields in Dutchess County, N.Y., not Westchester). But isn't part of the househunting drill to check out the neighborhood before relocating? And if noise from an airport is a concern, why move in next to one?