Time to revisit offshore airport idea
Sep 19, 2013 | 5491 views | 0 0 comments | 129 129 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor:

In view of the increased jet noise over the New York metro area, I thought your readers might be interested in how several large cities in Asia have dealt with this problem.

For decades, Hong Kong had a downtown airport (Kai Tak) that was like LaGuardia - situated in the heart of a densely populated area (Kowloon) with jetliners roaring in nonstop just over the tops of apartment and office buildings. The noise was unbelievable!

Eventually, Hong Kong decided enough was enough, and they built a huge new airport on landfill on one of Hong Kong's outer islands (Lantau). Then they closed Kai Tak.

It is a good distance from the new airport to the main parts of Hong Kong, but the people of Kowloon and central Hong Kong are no longer bombarded by incessant jet noise and the ever-present risk of an airline crash.

Moreover, visitors to Hong Kong now go through a brand new airport - a much more attractive gateway than the rundown Kai Tak. I went through the new airport last year and was very impressed. Remarkable that someone can be impressed by an airport, but that was my feeling.

Here's the kicker: they did it in six years!

Osaka, Japan, also created an island for a new airport well away from central Osaka, thus sparing residents the noise and air pollution from increased jet traffic. This project was also accomplished quickly. Tokyo put a new airport (Narita) well outside the main city more than 30 years ago.

In Singapore, a new airport was built at Changi Point, which is about as far from downtown Singapore as you can get. It is also right on the water.

NYC is of course on the water and there are many possible offshore locations for a new airport – from Sandy Hook to the Rockaways.

A number of years ago an offshore airport was proposed for New York and New Jersey, but the proposal never got traction. Perhaps it is time for our local officials, the Port Authority and the FAA to take another look at this idea.

Construction of an offshore airport with high-speed rail would provide large numbers of jobs and related economic development. We could expect even more travelers and, of course, less noise and air pollution over Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and New Jersey.


Peter Rutledge


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