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Cape Cod Airport terminal to double

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Airport terminal to double

Barnstable commissioners plan to expand current facility, reject four other sites.



HYANNIS - Airport commissioners decided to double the size of the Barnstable Municipal Airport terminal and essentially keep it in the same location, despite the availability of four other sites.

The decision comes after years of debate and wrangling over just where to site a new terminal. The current terminal was built in 1957.

"It served us well but it's outmoded at this point," Airport Commissioner Michael Dunning told the town council Thursday night. "It certainly isn't worthy of the town of Barnstable."

The expansion plans address only the terminal. Additional runways are not part of the project, Dunning said.

Barnstable Airport hosted 401,946 passengers in 2001 and is the third busiest in the state, behind only Nantucket Memorial and Boston's Logan airports.

Airport officials say the current 22,000-square-foot facility is not big enough to house offices, rental car agencies, airline counters and a cafe, as well as the number of passengers passing through.

The new building, which will be between 40,000 and 45,000 square feet, should accommodate needs for the next 40 years. It will be either to the west or east of the existing terminal. The projected cost is $24.9 million.

To reduce rotary traffic, the main access to the airport would be off Attucks Lane, Dunning said. An auto salvage yard, pet grooming business, bakery and portions of a parking lot will have to be taken by the airport, which caused some concern.

"My fear is that people will not be adequately compensated," Councilor James Crocker said. "This is the place that it's all going to go awry if it's not handled properly."

The Federal Aviation Administration has relocation assistance available and has pledged to assist, Dunning said.

Cape Cod Commission and federal review as well as the land takings and design phases will happen next, with construction possibly beginning in 2004 and ending in 2006.

Three other sites - to the east, southwest and north - were rejected because of lot size, FAA mandates, parking constraints and neighborhood opposition.

Among the more controversial alternatives was the North Central option, which would have placed the terminal between Upper Gate and Lewis ponds. Residents opposed the plan because of environmental and traffic concerns. "I want to commend you on not choosing the North Central site," Councilor Ann Canedy said.

Airport Commissioners, who voted Tuesday on the site, said that alternative would require a costly parking garage and time-consuming FAA waivers. It also offers only 3.5-acres, as opposed to the 11-acres available at the current terminal location. That option would have cost nearly $30 million.

From The Cape Cod Times

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Airport courts major carriers

JetBlue, Southwest and other airlines are being wooed to offer direct service from Hyannis to key U.S. cities.

By ERIC GERSHON, STAFF WRITER | November 16, 2004

HYANNIS - Barnstable Municipal Airport officials have begun talks with several major commercial airlines with hopes of winning direct scheduled service from Hyannis to major U.S. cities such as Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

Several airlines have flown direct intercity routes from Hyannis in the past - to New York, Newark, N.J., and Baltimore, for example - but only US Airways Express now offers direct service to a major airport outside Massachusetts.

US Air runs direct flights from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Hyannis, but none departing from Hyannis.

Travelers starting from the Cape must use Boston's Logan International Airport or T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., to connect to the national air transportation network. It takes more than an hour to reach either of those airports by car.

Airport officials here want to win business away from Logan and T.F. Green by offering direct flights to major U.S. destinations, airport manager Quincy "Doc" Mosby said in an interview last week.

Mosby said he has approached representatives of JetBlue and Southwest Airlines, two of the nation's leading low-cost air carriers, as well as Delta Express. Continental Express, which served Barnstable in the 1990s, has approached him, he said. But Mosby has not begun formal negotiations with any of the airlines and he declined to speculate when or if he would.

Only JetBlue has sent representatives to Cape Cod to inspect Barnstable's airport, he said.

In a phone message yesterday, a JetBlue spokesman said Hyannis was not on the airline's short list of new destinations, but could be in the future.

Been there, done that

Although passenger volume at Barnstable dropped by 14 percent in 2003, that reflected national trends, and the airport remains the third busiest in the state. Last year it served 174,928 passengers. Mosby said he expects volume to increase in the next few years.

An airline's decision to add a Hyannis route would, like most business decisions, come down to the potential for profit, assistant airport manager Frank Sanchez said.

"They're not going to come here if they can't make any money," he said.

Ticket prices would be determined by the airlines, he said.

In the past decade, Continental, Business Express and Pan American Airlines have all tried and abandoned Hyannis routes.

Pan Am, now a regional airline owned by Guilford Transportation Industries of New Hampshire, gave up its route to Baltimore last year after one year of service.

Pan Am has recently been bogged down in legal disputes, including a suit brought by Gary-Chicago International Airport claiming the airline owes it more than $58,000.

Boost for Cape Air

Cape Air, the regional airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport, would likely benefit from additional carriers flying to and from Hyannis, spokeswoman Michelle Haynes said, especially if JetBlue were the carrier.

"We have a lot in common with that airline as far as the route structure goes," she said. JetBlue flies from Boston to Florida and the Caribbean island of San Juan, regions where Cape Air also offers air service, she said.

Cape Air makes daily flights between Hyannis and Boston, but its primary market is the Cape and islands, Haynes said.

"If JetBlue were bringing in passengers that would like to go on to the islands I can't see how that could do anything but help us," she said. "The more traffic at the airport, the better."

Wendy Northcross, executive director of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber would lobby the airlines to start a Hyannis route if Mosby asks for help.

Northcross said direct flights from Hyannis to major cities "would be a tremendous asset for us in marketing the Cape."

Mosby said major planned capital improvements to Barnstable's airport, including a new $39 million terminal and a new air traffic control tower, would help land a major carrier.

"Everybody likes to get a brand-new house," he said.

Construction of the new terminal is expected to begin in late 2006 or early 2007.

The state and federal governments would supply most of the funding. The remainder would be paid out of airport revenues.

From The Cape Cod Times

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