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Bill would lift New Haven runway length restriction

AOPA is urging its 3,300 members in Connecticut to show state lawmakers they support a bill to enhance safety and services at Tweed-New Haven Airport by lifting a legislated length limit of the airport’s main runway.

The legislation, House Bill 7143, was introduced by the Joint Committee on Transportation in February. AOPA provided written testimony for a hearing held March 4.

The proposal would give the governing authority of the municipal facility that markets itself as “Southern Connecticut’s airport” the power to do “all things necessary” on a detailed listing of airport managerial duties and would eliminate language currently on the books restricting the main runway’s length to 5,600 feet.

The threshold of Runway 20 is displaced 352 feet, and detailed noise abatement procedures are in effect at the airport.

“This action will serve as an important step toward future development of the Tweed-New Haven (HVN) Airport whereby a runway extension would allow for increased operations, improved safety, and the operation of newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft,” wrote AOPA Eastern Region Manager Sean Collins in a Feb. 25 letter to the Transportation Committee.

Collins noted that regular investment in airport infrastructure is needed to keep an airport in compliance with federal and state standards—usually a prerequisite for receiving matching grants that fund the amenities that draw new users and tenants to an airport.

In 2018, AOPA could not support legislation that took up Tweed-New Haven’s condition because that year’s bill included a provision to close the airport’s second runway, which, as AOPA noted at the time, provides an alternate option for takeoffs and landings when crosswind conditions elevate the risk assessment for operations on Runway 02/20.

“AOPA was successful in preventing the statutory loss of the crosswind runway, but the New Haven Airport Authority will need to generate new revenue to restore it to prime condition,” Collins said.

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