Changes likely at airports following attacks | SierraSun.com

Changes likely at airports following attacks

Erich Sommer, Sierra Sun

Despite his forecast of major changes on the horizon, Truckee Tahoe Airport General Manager David Gotschall told the board of directors last week that the airport was running smoothly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“We’re in good shape, but there are a number of smaller airports that are not,” Gotschall said.

Gotschall did say he was concerned about increased security measures that may be mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration because of the attacks.

“There is a cost associated with each one,” Gotschall said afterward. “I don’t mind mandates, but I don’t like unfunded mandates.”

Lynne Larson, an alternate member of the Airport Noise Advisory Committee, asked Gotschall and the board if smaller airports could become the preferred avenue for terrorist activities.

“Could general aviation airports now become the medium for these people to do their dirty work?” Larson asked.

Gotschall said a first wave of increased security measures has already been recommended by aviation industry groups.

Last week, the National Air Transportation Administration, a group that lobbies on behalf of the aviation industry, brought forward recommendations including additional gates and fences at airports, background checks and photo identification for all employees at all airports.

Gotschall said he thought it was likely the National Air Transportation Administration would forward the recommendations to the FAA.

“In fact, I think it has already been done,” he said.

In other business, the board adopted a 2001-2002 budget that includes $9.6 million for capital expenditures and just under $3 million for operating expenses.

Most of the capital expenditure funds come from a $5.2 million grant from the FAA for airport improvement.

Director Ken Foster also reported on a list of 40 recommendations formulated by the Airport Noise Advisory Committee to reduce noise at the airport. The suggestions include everything from raising fuel costs to building and operating a control tower.

Foster told the board some sort of rating system would have to be applied to the recommendations in order to identify those that are the most feasible.

The board also authorized staff to produce a noise abatement procedure guide that would outline noise sensitive areas. The guide would be made available to all pilots who fly in and out of the airport.

The board went into closed session to discuss the possible acquisition of 29.2 acres from the Joerger Family Association.

Afterward, Gotschall would say only that he was optimistic about the outcome of the negotiations and that they were going “very well.”