Press-Republican

Local News

November 30, 2012

County to pursue F-35 jets for Plattsburgh Airport

(Continued)

The Air Force reiterated that position Thursday.

“We have no plans to base F-35s in Plattsburgh, but we appreciate the community wanting us,” Air Force Media Operations Officer Ann Stefanek told the Press-Republican from the Pentagon.

Stefanek said the Air Force is still conducting environmental impact statements on the F-35 project at Burlington and the other possible sites.

“Plattsburgh is not considered a reasonable alternative site and is not being evaluated,” she said.

SPACE AVAILABLE

Plattsburgh served as home to an Air Force Strategic Air Command base from 1955 to 1995. When the base was operational, it housed several types of aircraft, including the FB-111 fighter-bomber and KC-135 stratotankers.

The base was well-received by the community at large, with many civilians participating in efforts of the PAFB Liaison Committee.

Plattsburgh International Airport opened on the flight line of the former base in the summer of 2007 and has attracted thousands of travelers from the area, as well as Montreal.

Heins said there is plenty of room for an Air National Guard unit along with commercial flights.

“There certainly is enough room out there. Some structures might have to be built, but enough room was never an issue.”

JOBS COVETED

Heins said such an Air National Guard operation could mean about 300 to 400 jobs and federal funding for services at the airport.

“This could lead to a lot of jobs and a tremendous amount of money for snow plowing and other items, so we do need to let people know we are interested,” he said.

He did not think noise would be an issue for the community.

“Noise is progress,” he said. “The problem with the Burlington Airport is that it is kind of in the middle of a residential area. Our airport is not like that.”

When the issue first came up this past summer, the legislature discussed it but made no moves to get involved.

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