Editors' Choice: Rothman and Barlage dispute BBJ access to Teterboro

 - May 28, 2008, 7:29 AM

Community objections to the increased use of Teterboro Airport, and to its use by the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), have pitted Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) against supporters of the airport and in particular Boeing Business Jet director of regional sales Steve Barlage.

Rothman has been an especially vocal critic of the airport, siding with community groups protesting issues from noise to air pollution, and most recently leading a crusade to ban use of the airport by the BBJ.

At a press conference this past summer, Rothman told listeners, “To send one clear and strong message about the BBJ. We don’t need it, we will not stand for it. It is absolutely unacceptable and intolerable.” At the same time, he circulated a statement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey director of aviation saying, “We [the Port Authority] welcome Congressman Rothman’s continued support for the Port Authority’s 100,000-pound weight limit on aircraft flying in and out of Teterboro Airport.”

Rothman also made use of the anti-noise platform, saying that heavier aircraft meeting more stringent Stage 3 standards may make more noise than Stage 2 aircraft weighing 75,000 lb or less. He conveniently overlooked another statement from the same GAO report that noted that an aircraft weighing 230,000 lb had a quieter takeoff than 11 types of smaller aircraft weighing less than 6,500 lb.

Barlage took exception to Rothman’s attacks, noting that the Port Authority rule of 1967 banning aircraft of more than 100,000 lb does not actually state that these aircraft are banned. “It states that aircraft over 100,000 pounds require prior permission,” he pointed out.

In response to demands that the Port Authority evaluate the effects of fuel dumping by aircraft on the air, water and surface in surrounding communities, Barlage pointed out that the BBJ does not even have a fuel jettison system. He also pointed out that the BBJ is a Group III aircraft, and that there are aircraft in this category already making regular use of the airport. They include sports teams using Boeing 737s, DC-9s and BAC111s. In fact, he said, there were six Group III aircraft actually based at Teterboro, including a Global Express and a Gulfstream V.

Finally, if the Port Authority were to issue a ban on any aircraft authorized under FAA regulations to use the field, Teterboro Airport might lose federal funding.

The issue remains volatile, and both Barlage and Rothman are likely to play a continuing role in the future of Teterboro Airport in the coming year.