For Sale

"The hundreds of new businesses would generate enormous sales and tax revenue. There would be job creation that would far exceed anything the airport could dream of producing."

The article on Chandler’s airport was interesting but it did omit a few key points.

In 2007, the latest of three efforts to extend Chandler’s runway occurred. At that time, there were 10 bond items on the ballot. Nine of the proposed bonds passed.  

One failed — the bond supporting the proposed runway extension. The runway bond was supported by Chandler’s City Council, Chandler’s Chamber of Commerce and local corporate heavy hitters (Intel and Bashas). 

The pro-extension effort spent $15.00 for every dollar citizen opposition spent.  The pro-extension group had everything going for it — except the support of the voting community.

Chandler’s voters very clearly and emphatically stated they did not want additional, intrusive noise from corporate jet traffic. 

 Why is this new proposal so offensive?  First, Phoenix Williams Gateway Airport is just a few minutes from our facility. Their airport is designed for jet traffic.  You can land Air Force One, a Boeing 747, on their runway and this airport is underused. 

 Second, jet noise decreases property values and degrades the residential quality of life. Third, jet aircraft are known super polluters. A small single engine aircraft burns about 45 gallons of fuel per hour. A corporate jet burns 300 to 800 gallons of fuel per hour. 

 On take-off a jet is at full throttle with noxious fumes blasting out the exhaust. A few years ago, the city was concerned about the pollution from weed wackers and leaf blowers.  Good Grief. One jet = 23,500 weed wackers. 

 The per-person pollution rate is estimated to be 10 times greater for a corporate jet than a commercial jet aircraft.

Yes, airport operations are increasing, even approaching pre-recession levels. However, even during the facility’s highest utilization, Chandler’s airport was subsidized, for many years, through the city’s general revenue.  

Yes, we had a tax-supported airport.  Why pay for police, fire protection and social services when we can support the airport?

Since 2007 the land surrounding the airport has seen intensive development.  Some of this has been commercial industrial development. 

However, Chandler has allowed many hundreds of high-density apartments and homes to be built next to and surrounding this facility. The city has made the potential for jet noise intrusion worse than it was in 2007. 

Please recall what recently happened when the FAA and Sky Harbor Airport decided to alter their existing flight paths. The impact upon voters was substantial.  

The FAA and Sky Harbor Airport degraded their quality of life with intrusive jet noise. It did not work out well for the FAA. 

They lost in court and had to return to the original flight patterns. People can get grumpy when you rudely intrude into their lives. They become highly motivated to make noise and vote.

Last and most controversial, it you really want to ”turbo charge” the local economy, close the airport and use the vacant land for commercial development.  

This large vacant parcel would become the most valuable property in the state. The hundreds of new businesses would generate enormous sales and tax revenue. There would be job creation that would far exceed anything the airport could dream of producing.

(1) comment


There are several inaccuracies in this piece. first of all small jets like the ones mentioned do not burn anywhere near what the author suggests. Typically a het that size would burn about 1/7 the amount stated. And the small airplanes that make up a majority of the traffic at Chandler airport burn between 6 and 12 gallons per hour, not the 45 listed I the article.

Moving jet traffic to Mesa Gateway does little to prevent any pollution concerns. Unfortunately pollution does not stop at city lines. This also doesn't address the increased pollution from the higher traffic numbers that would come with the imagined growth.

One last point is that the airport was primarily subsidized by taxes on aviation fuel. In theory, if you didn't buy aviation fuel, you were not paying for the airport. Of course how our tax dollars are actually spent is another story

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