Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Possible expansion of Chester County Airport; its impact on surrounding land

Just last week, courtesy of a local who is trying to erect a deck on the back of our house, I heard plans for expanding the Chester County Airport. These plans involve expanded hangar and other facilities as well as extending the existing runway to accommodate larger aircraft. This gentleman stated that Chester County's intention is to eventually handle commercial aircraft operations; people residing in the surrounding area would no longer have to schlep to Philadelphia International Airport but could travel a much shorter distance to travel to that (or those) popular destination(s).

Aside from generating some additional commercial traffic in the Greater Philadelphia region, what else does this mean? Adjacent to the airport is the Keystone Heliplex. Here, helicopters are repaired and/or manufactured. Having the runway extended would bring in more traffic to this manufacturing site. Naturally, Keystone is very in favor of this expansion.

With airport expansion projects, the subject regarding property value and aircraft noise seems to arise. Sure, many commercial airports adversely impact property values considering the increased noise and the associated industrial properties and uses that are also close-by. However, such impacts are usually associated with the larger commercial airports. This expansion would make the Chester County Airport more of a regional commercial operation. Perhaps one airline or two would likely come in to offer a few flights to some select cities. Perhaps Frontier or Spirit Airlines might consider commencing narrow-body Airbus service to Orlando, Myrtle Beach, or another top leisure destination. I think such an expansion would be large enough to actually send property values soaring. The airport already handles quite a bit of private propeller and jet operations, and today's aircraft, especially Airbuses, are technologically advanced pieces of engineering designed to be quieter than those jets of yesteryear.