Sikorsky Airport plans upset businesses

(08/06/03) STRATFORD - Plans to redo the runway at Sikorsky Airport are being met with opposition by corporate businesses. The FAA wants to add a safety zone to the runway, but the proposal is causing friction between Stratford, where the airport is located and Bridgeport, which owns Sikorsky. The exact plan calls for shortening the runway by about 150 feet and adding a 300-foot grass safety zone. Stratford Town Manager Mike Feeney approves the plan.

Corporations that use the airport, such as Atlantic Air and PrivatAir, say shortening the runway would cause safety hazards and put them at an economic disadvantage. Sikorsky's manager, says the airport would lose about 30 percent of its business by accepting the latest FAA proposal.

PrivatAir has already said it would have to explore other options within the region if the changes are made. The city of Bridgeport owns the airport and Mayor John Fabrizi (D-Bridgeport) says the safety improvements are needed but not at the expense of corporate business.

Sikorsky managers and businesses that use the airport have come up with an alternative plan. They want to keep the runway exactly as it is, and add a grassy area at the end. The plan would require moving Main Street in Stratford, and that has Town Manager Feeney upset.

The Airport Commission did not vote on either proposal, but decided to have a meeting to try to work out some of the differences.


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