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Questions arise over airline industry expert

LAWRENCEVILLE -- An airline industry expert told Gwinnett's airport study committee that regional airports are not likely to be successful in the future.

But because of questions about his objectivity, the committee will hear from another expert.

Insights into the aviation industry came in writing from Michael Boyd of Boyd Group International, who some questioned because of work consulting with Delta. Boyd said the airline industry is contracting, and airlines have cut regional jets from their fleets.

Because Boyd found a trend of consolidating flights at larger airports, some committee members said that did not back up a proposal to add commercial flights at Gwinnett's Briscoe Field.

"There is nothing in that growth analysis that shows smaller regional airports will be a success," said Lawrenceville Councilman Tony Powell, who serves on the citizens review board. "The whole industry is going away from that thought process."

While they did not believe Boyd to be biased, Gwinnett's transportation staff sent the same questions to Thomas Kinton of the Massachusetts Port Authority to gain another perspective. His answers are expected to be available by the group's meeting next Monday, which is a week before a due date for the committee to have its recommendations to the Board of Commissioners.

To get to work on the report, the committee members brain-stormed Monday about a list of concerns that officials should take into account in their analysis of the proposed privatization of the airport, which now serves general aviation, such as corporate jets, flight schools and private pilots.

The list, which will later be prioritized, included quality of life issues such as property values and noise, the ability to negotiate some controls such as flight times, and off-site infrastructure costs.

Comments

Cleanupguy 2 years, 5 months ago

It sounds like the committee is clearly looking for opinions that are biased toward the conclusions they want to reach. Given that NONE of these ANYWHERE have EVER been successful in the past (without considerable taxpayer $upport), it's quite reasonable to assume that "regional airports are not likely to be successful in the future" - DUH? These folks are bound and determined to get into taxpayer wallets, which let's not forget, the FAA and common sense have guaranteed WILL happen.

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teelee 2 years, 5 months ago

Something tells me that ten years from now airports will still have airplanes flying people around. There are other experts in the industry that disagree with Mr. Boyd. Where is the big story with their thoughts and comments? We live 40 miles from the worlds busiest airport and many of us would like an alternative to Hartsfield-Jackson. The Gwinnett County Commissioners should get on board and help turn Gwinnett's economy around. General aviation is struggling at Briscoe Field due to the local economy and fuel prices. Bringing in commercial flights will also bring in money and growth. For years Gwinnett relied on construction to be the fastest growing county in the country. Now the construction is gone and we are number one on home foreclosures and personal bankruptcy's. The airport expansion could be just what Gwinnett needs to bring back our floundering economy. The Gwinnett Place Mall is on it's last leg. Who would have ever dreamed things could be so bad in Gwinnett County? I say move forward with the airport and the new gambling venue and turn Gwinnett around so we are no longer number one in home foreclosures and bankruptcy's.

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WantingFacts 2 years, 5 months ago

Teelee: "The Gwinnett County Commissioners should get on board and help turn Gwinnett's economy around. General aviation is struggling at Briscoe Field due to the local economy and fuel prices." Oh sure. If we have 737s at Briscoe, it will help general aviation with fuel prices and turn the economy around! " There are other experts in the industry that disagree with Mr. Boyd." I dare you to find ANY industry expert who will say that there have been ANY successful privatizations under this FAA program. "The airport expansion could be just what Gwinnett needs to bring back our floundering economy." Maybe the industry experts who promised us the Braves Stadium would create jobs, bring about economic development and never be a burden on the taxpayers could be brought in to refute Mr. Boyd's statements. Where are those consultants now?

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brownso 2 years, 5 months ago

Interesting that you put gambling venue and the airport expansion in the same sentence.

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ekmjb 2 years, 5 months ago

There is a lot of factual information out there to be read that leads to one overriding conclusion when it comes to airport privatization - but the optimum word is READ. All the emotional rhetoric and optimistic hope in Gwinnett County does not override the obvious - NO SECONDARY COMMERCIAL AIRPORT HAS EVER BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THE UNITED STATES! Not only that, but airports like Mid-America Airport in O'Fallon, IL, John Murha Airport in Cambria County Pennsylvania, Branson Missouri Airport, Stewart International Airport in New York, et al, have been abject failures when it comes to being profitable and all have been drains on the taxpayers. Even an airport like John Wayne in Orange County California, situated on 500+ acres, with 20 concourses and over 20,000 take-offs/landings per month (combined commercials and general aviation), generates only 179 permanent airport jobs. Again, information that is readily available on-line if someone is interested in knowing the facts. Let's not put Gwinnnett County taxpayers in a position of subsidizing yet another hair-brained idea that will benefit a few at the expense of many.

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poorcitizen 2 years, 5 months ago

The citizens of Gwinnett have been put on the hook for more tax waste then we can afford. The desperate attempts to bring in revenue w/o much thought has cost us enough already. The attitude of build it and they will come is flawed. The premise that expand our GA airfield and the airlines will beat a path to Gwinnett is wrong. Study after study has shown this to be the case in other areas and the professional input on Gwinnett has said the same as well. If we want jobs ( good paying professional jobs ) then lets expand on the university and medical trend that has already started in the 316 corridor. Lowering the values of our homes and quality of life will only serve to discourage good jobs from growing here. The only winners in this project are the owners of commercial property around Briscoe Field. I do not know who they are but they may know some of the decision makers on the expansion project.

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kevin 2 years, 5 months ago

The Gwinnett BOC have only one focus: more money to spend. Why can't they put this issue to sleep and kill the expansion? The people want this. Are we to elect people to represent US or people that represent their own interests for money and power? Nash should take the lead and kill this once and for all. If this passes, I can guarantee many heads will change with the next election. We will find out who voted for it or against it. We will also know who voted against it knowing that it wouldn't pass just to save their skins. We have been following their leads since this all began. The planes we have there now make enough noise over our homes. Who in their right mind would want louder and more noise overhead? Yes, I know, the idiots that think they won't hear it since they live far away. Well, they will find out the hard way if it passes.

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Cleanupguy 2 years, 5 months ago

Remember, though, it was pointed out that only 737's with very little fuel and almost no passengers or cargo could actually come and go to and from Briscoe. The FAA study showed that taxpayers definitely would be on the hook for something that has in fact NEVER succeeded elsewhere, and the last carrier (Southwest) interested pulled out and settled in at the now expanded Hartsfield. The 20,000 jobs is nothing less than a lie at best - there are only 11,000 employees in the 12th largest school system in the country (Gwinnett). Realistic estimates are in the mid-100's of jobs, most of which would (after the Propeller Fellers disappear) become taxpayer supported. Almost everyone with a clue has stopped beating this dead horse.

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jack 2 years, 5 months ago

You must add in the 80-90 jobs associated with the strip clubs and tattoo parlors that will define the econmic development around Brisoe.

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kevin 2 years, 5 months ago

Doesn't anyone wonder why our other small airports around metro Atlanta aren't killing each other trying to expand their airports?

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Cleanupguy 2 years, 5 months ago

Maybe they don't have enough money to buy the needed commissioners or conduct a major public relations campaign to snooker the Teelees (aka Propeller Fellers) of Gwinnett. Indeed, the other two interested companies bailed out when Southwest pulled out.

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BevL 2 years, 5 months ago

Every time an expert brings forth information that privatizing and commercializing Briscoe Field will not be the success that is projected by Propeller Investments, the expert is discounted as questionable and biased. Every time. Report after report from experts have all said the same thing - DO NOT DO THIS - but this is all discounted in the quest for the millions - no billions promised by Propeller. I hope the Board of Commissioners will do their due diligence on this company. Surely they will.

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MarkElkins 2 years, 5 months ago

I regret to inform you expansionist the success of the airport is not the real subject matter. The quality of life we have come to expect in this county will vanish for those who live within 30 miles of the airport. The noise along for those who live within the 30 mile circle of the airport, the citizens of Lawrenceville, Daculs, Graysone and many other subdivisions should be up in arms over expansion. The issues started in 2001 with rezoning and those involved, commissioners and developers, have been brought up on ethic charges, bribery and those implicated not chaarged resigned. County land deals were subject to over payment in the some of millions. The invironmental concerns are just as important. The quality of the air for my family is very important due to a sickness in the family. The stewartship the county commissioners owe us as related to tax payer dollars is lacking here big time. Over 90% of privatization attempts fail leaving the tax payer on the hook for the cost of operations. WAKE UP THIS IS A MONEY DEAL!!! WE JUST DON'T KNOW YET WHO GOT IT OR WILL GET IT. TIME WILL TELL ALL!!

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Dubbin 2 years, 5 months ago

Here's the real question: Why is Commissioner Beaudreau for the expansion when he represents so many of the neighborhoods that'll be damaged by it? Why would a Commissioner that is always talking about lowering taxes and having less government want to be on the hook for this airport expansion? Everyone should apply pressure to him - remember he is up for re-election this year. Let him know how you feel about this: . District 3 Commissioner Mike Beaudreau 770.822.7003 Mike.Beaudreau@gwinnettcounty.com

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LoganvilleResident 2 years, 5 months ago

I know this may come as shocking news for you... but if you disagree with Mr. Beaudreau, he really doesn't care what you think.

I have emailed Mr. Beaudreau about this issue twice. The first was to tell him how much I opposed it. The second email was a few weeks later. I sent the second email because I never received a response from him on my first email. I pointed out that it would be common courtesy to at least respond that he had received my concerns. He is my elected representative after all on the county commission. He didn't bother to reply to that one either.

On the other hand, Ms. Nash responded to my email within a matter of hours... and it was not a generic draft response.

I can live with the fact that my county commissioner disagrees with me. I can't live with the fact that he can't even display common courtesy to address my concerns. He definitely is not deserving of my vote.

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BufordGuy 2 years, 5 months ago

Don't know about you but someone that was hellbent on socializing our garbage system "like it is in the northeast" doesn't sound to me like someone that would champion less government.

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Dubbin 2 years, 5 months ago

Well if you read Beaudreau's campaign mailers he's the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan. But the garbage plan, the ballfield and now the airport tends to say otherwise doesn't it?

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Dubbin 2 years, 5 months ago

One other thing: If you go to FlyGwinnettForward.com and look at who supports the commercial expansion of the airport you'll see aviation business owners, accountants, insurance brokers, real estate developers, political candidates, etc. Aren't these the people that would either (a) develope the airport and the land around it or (b) do business with the company that manages the airport? I wonder how many promises of insurance business, jobs, contracts and photocopier purchases have been promised by Propellor Investments to those who support the airport? I wonder if the District Attorney has thought to look into these issues?

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jamidon 2 years, 5 months ago

It has been pretty obvious from the start that it is about the money not quality of life here in Gwinnett. They have tried to manipulate the process to point at which it is absurd: trying to hush experts that say expansion won't work, the airport doesn't have the room, won't make back the money invested by taxpayers, forming a group to assist in gathering facts and then disbanding it, on and on. The only hope in reasoning with elected officials is to make them understand they won't stay in office if the go against the will of the people. Lets hope it isn't too late and that the fix isn't in yet...

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166LZU 2 years, 5 months ago

If the pro-expansionists are unwilling to listen to The Boyd Group - how about the FAA? They publish an annunal aerospace forecast that projects 20 years into the future. They always project long-term growth, but even they get real on occasion. Here are some direct quotes...

"Over the next 20 years, large airports will continue to grow faster than their smaller counterparts in the United States" "Since the beginning of the century, the commercial air carrier industry has suffered several major shocks that have led to reduced demand for air travel. These shocks include the terror attacks of September 11, skyrocketing prices for fuel, debt restructuring in Europe and the United States (U.S.), and a global recession." "For the regional carriers, domestic capacity will shrink by 0.5 percent from 2011 levels thus registering another decline after shrinking in 2009." "We expect the number of 50 seat regional jets in service to fall" "Although the year 2011 began with a lot of hope for an economic recovery, it was primarily characterized as a year of full scale uncertainty" "U.S. manufacturer (aircraft) shipments declined for the fourth year in a row" "Total operations at FAA and contract towers decreased for the 4th consecutive year" "Carriers continued to face economic uncertainty in 2011 as corporate travel budgets remained strained and double-digit unemployment persisted accompanied by uncertainty surrounding debt restructuring and the payroll tax break." "Network carriers are putting the squeeze on their regional partners by negotiating fee-for-departure contracts that shift more of the financial risk of contract flying to the regional carriers." "The regional carrier fleet was also reduced in 2011, falling by 46 units, and now stands at its lowest level since 2003." "Only six of the Core 30 airports exceeded 2005 peak activity levels during fiscal year 2011" "Given the current instability in the global economy, there is much uncertainty as to the timing and strength of a recovery in aviation demand."

So, yeah, it sounds like a great time to get in to the regional airport business - NOT!!!

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