Letter to the Editor: A Response to Aviation Industry Leaders about Hangar Expansion.

October 30, 2023

Submitted by Corinne Doud

 In response to news coverage about widespread public opposition to the proposed private luxury jet hangar expansion at Massport’s Hanscom Field, a 10/17/23 joint letter by aviation industry representatives suggests “getting more facts on the table about Hanscom” – and then proceeds to offer misleading information which needs to be corrected here:

1) Chief among them: The authors incorrectly attribute Hanscom Air Force Base’s enormous employment and revenue contributions to the state economy (20,000 jobs, $6.7 billion economic activity) and wrongly ascribe them to Hanscom Field Civil Airport which, according to Massport’s 2023 State of Hanscom, provides only 2243 FTE jobs and $679 million direct, indirect & induced benefits — orders of magnitude less than claimed by the authors.

Note: Massport’s Hanscom Field civil airport is separate and distinct from Hanscom Air Force Base, which is research-based, has no airport, and has had no aviation activity since 1973. Massport and business aviation interests regularly ignore this distinction and enthusiastically promote its conflation.

2) The authors invoke Boston MedFlight’s life-saving operations, which everyone supports, but MedFlight’s two private jets have nothing to do with the development of 27 new hangars for private luxury jet use, particularly since most of their operations are conducted by their helicopters.

3) As evidence of the industry’s “sharp focus on sustainability”, the authors claim that the aviation industry has “slashed emissions by 40% in just four decades”—but don’t tell you that these reduction figures only reflect emissions from ground infrastructure at airports, and do not include any emissions from aircraft, whose emissions overshadow that of buildings. This is how Massport can claim that they will achieve net zero emissions by 2031

4) The authors imply that electric and sustainable aviation fuel technologies, now mostly speculative, will solve our climate crisis – in contradiction to the FAA’s 2021 Aviation Climate Action Plan which sees no possibility of this happening until years beyond 2050 — the year that we must reach net zero by every measure (state, federal, global) if we are to stabilize the climate crisis.

Here’s why the private jet hangar expansion must be stopped now: if the proposal goes forward, private jet emissions at Hanscom alone could cancel up to 70% of the climate benefits from all the solar PV ever installed in Massachusetts.  It is a direct and immediate threat to our town and state Climate Goals. See https://www.stopprivatejetexpansion.org for more information.

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Dereck Blackburn
October 31, 2023 7:53 am

Thank you for a thoughtful and fact filled letter.

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