Hanscom Hangar Expansion Flies Into Opposition

 - May 24, 2023, 4:34 PM
(Photo: Nick Allen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

As progress continues on a proposed plan to add 27 hangars and associated ramp and vehicle parking areas at Lawrence G. Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts—the largest and busiest general aviation airport in the state—opposition to the expansion is focusing on perceived environmental concerns, namely carbon emissions.

Opponents of the project include several Massachusetts legislators led by Sen. Michael Barrett. In a recent letter to Massport, the state agency that owns Hanscom, Barrett claims that “private jet travel is by far the most polluting form of air travel. If and when these 27 hangars fill up with private jets, any gestures the developers make to green their buildings will be almost meaningless.”

However, those contentions are refuted by the fact that the hangars are expected to be occupied by a variety of small and large piston and turbine general aviation aircraft. What’s more, “The business aviation sector is known for its long-standing record on emissions reduction,” said NBAA. “The industry has continually reduced its carbon footprint over the past several decades, and today accounts for less than one percent of transportation emissions.”

The proposal is currently in the state’s environmental process that is expected to run into next year. “Once that environmental process is completed, the developer will have to go through approval proceedings for any necessary other states, town, and FAA permits/approval,” a Massport official told AIN. “There would be public comment periods and public meetings as part of those processes as well.”

Meanwhile, the Hanscom proposal is still in the early stages “and will continue to be modified and refined to reflect public input and prospective tenant interest,” a spokesman for the developer told AIN. “Construction is not anticipated to start until 2025 at the earliest.”