Luring JetBlue to Naples Airport faces huddles
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Sep. 26, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep. 26, 2012
NAPLES, Fla. - There is not much activity at the Naples Municipal Airport terminal expect for the rental car companies that use space on one end of the building, but that could soon change.
Executive Director Ted Soliday is working on plans to possibly get JetBlue to bring its business to the airport, which would operate during season.
Right now, airport commissioners are considering several issues that need to be overcome; among them is the large amount of space needed to accommodate all the extra people.
One plan is to build a new terminal next to the old one that would hold more passengers.
Another issue is the noise, which has been a point of contention with some residents in the past.
Naples residents have complained to Fox 4 about the noise coming from the private jets and propeller planes that use the airport.
JetBlue would use an ERJ-190, a regional plane that carries up to 100 passengers.
Soliday insists the newer JetBlue aircrafts would not lead to a significant increase in noise.
"I'm going to say most of the smaller, older business jets are noisier than this regional jet."
Some people have expressed concern that allowing a major carrier to set up shop would mean more carriers would want to do the same thing, but Soliday maintains that there just isn’t enough room for major growth because the airport is out of space to build on.
"(The) perception that it's the tip of the iceberg and next year we're going to let bigger ones and bigger and bigger… we just don't have that capacity."
Another issue is the heaviness of the ERJ-190, which weigh 115,000, 40,000 more than the weight limit at the Naples Airport.
The airport executive director say commissioners would have to make an exception to that rule since the increased weight would shorten the 20 year-long lifespan of the runway, meaning costly repairs.
The entire project upgrade would cost $2.5 million dollars and would come out of the airports budget.
Commissioners will hear public input at its next meeting scheduled for Oct. 18th