Bigger not always better, travelers learn
Hassle-weary travelers look to smaller airports
Ninety minutes outside of New York City at MacArthur Airport in Islip, Long Island, passengers check in with ease
ISLIP, New York (CNN) -- The airports around New York City are as busy
and as congested as the city they serve, and they're expected to get even
"In the next 10 years, delays at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark (airports) are
expected to double, and passengers can expect an average delay of well over
one hour per flight," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York.
But at an airport just 90 minutes outside the city, the Spiegel family was on the
move. They checked in with ease, and casually made their way to the gate.
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"The stories about LaGuardia -- they talk about three-hour delays, and when
we can come here and get to the gate in 10 minutes, it's like no hassle. It's
great," Jeff Spiegel said.
The Spiegels are using Macarthur Airport in Islip, Long Island, a regional
airport that until 1999 was not much to get excited about.
"The airport, this building, was a third of the size of this now," Islip Town
Supervisor Pete McGowan said. "It was old. It was tired."
But McGowan is proud of this place now. There's a new anchor tenant --
Southwest Airlines -- a $13 million renovation paid for by passenger fees,
and a turnaround in the cash flow of the airport.
A $13 million renovation at MacArthur airport has played a part in the airport's turnaround
"I would say it took a million-dollar negative and made it a million-dollar
positive," he said.
Macarthur is just one of many regional airports across the country taking advantage of the teeming tarmacs at larger airports nearby.
"Most of our regional airports are growing. With very few exceptions
they're all growing," said Arlene Feldman of the Federal Aviation
But not everyone supports expanding regional airports. Among the critics
are residents living around such facilities who complain that the increased
passenger convenience comes at their expense.
L.A.-area residents say no
One, Burbank Airport near Los Angeles, is generating an outcry
"They want to build a new terminal that will handle twice as many
passengers as they do right now," said Howard Rothenbach of ROAR, or Restore Our Airport Rights, a group opposed to Burbank's
"If that happens, that would mean twice as many flights, twice as much
traffic on the streets and all the congestion, pollution and all the noise. It's
just going to be a terrible impact on this community," he said.
Transportation watchdogs say those issues must be considered amid
Still, for passengers fed up with the hassles at major metropolitan airports,
the promise of smooth flying from a regional airport may be difficult to
L.A.-area communities oppose airport expansion plans
January 11, 2001
Aviation looks to cut delays through technology
July 27, 2000
FAA confirms two planes nearly collided last week at busy New York airport
June 19, 2000
Restore Our Airport Rights
Federal Aviation Administration
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
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