The never-ending battle continues at Hilton Head, SC (HHH / HXD) about the proposed runway extension.
This fight has been going on for years and subject to intense battles between local politicians, area residents, local churches, the hotel/tourist industry, and airlines.
There are two issues at stake:
1) Tree cutting to improve safety at the airport. Piedmont, USAirways, and GA pilots want trees cut and removed at the north end of the 4,300 runway for safety reasons. There are some videos out there on youtube that show how tall & close the trees are to the runway threshold and glide path. IMHO this is a huge safety issue. Local residents and a neighboring church are fighting the tree cutting and removal from county property for a variety of reasons.
2) Runway extension:
Already one, if not the shortest runway for a commerical-serviced airport, there are proposals to lengthen the runway from 4,300 ft up to 5,300 ft. Residents don't want the expansion because of the cost, tree removal, need to re-route a neighboring road, and the noise impact. Residents claim in will result in more, louder jets (primarily GA aircraft). USAirways wants it longer so it can fly their Dash-8s to full capacity without weight restrictions.
Some residents are trying to put a stake in the ground and say the development of the island has gone too far (IMHO I think they are about 20-30 years too late, that ship sailed long ago) and are treating the airport like the route of all evil.
HHH is always a hot topic in the local media but there has been some interesting articles as this works its way through the courts.
Keep in mind that DL pulled out earlier this year, primarily due to the retirement of the Saab 340 fleet. They too had to take significant weight restrictions out of HHH going to ATL.
This article is interesting since the US (Piedmont) station manager goes off shooting his mouth to the media, later to have his statements retracted by company executive. I'm sure he got disiplined nicely.....
Airline execs go back and retract the local station managers comments, saying they were inappropriate.
Anyways, just another NIMBY battle.
[Edited 2011-06-01 08:21:31]