Phase III to focus on project schedule, future aircraft performance, and community outreach
Meeting with and hearing from the community about the future of the airport is a key component of Phase III of the Air Service Study now underway. Public outreach kicks off on Monday, September 22nd when Pitkin County Manager, Jon Peacock kicks off a series of “coffee chats” at the airport every Monday and Thursday mornings between 9 and 10 a.m. through the end of October. Peacock will serve as acting Airport Director until a replacement for outgoing Airport Director, Jim Elwood is found. The informal chats will be held in the airport terminal café and will be an opportunity for the public to not only learn more about future plans for the airport, but to voice comments and concerns.
“We believe the future of our airport is one of the biggest issues facing our community over the next several years,” Peacock said. “Community involvement in this process is welcomed and essential as we put plans in place that will sustain the success of our airport and make it something the entire community can be proud of,” he said.
Future aircraft capability will continue to be assessed during Phase III. Phase II pointed out that future commercial aircraft capable of serving the airport in Aspen will be larger and have wider wingspans than aircraft now operating here. In addition, the Federal Aviation has mandated that, despite the evolution of larger regional commercial aircraft, the airport runway areas must be widened to meet FAA safety standards.
“Unless further study in Phase III shows otherwise, we as a community need to come together to understand what we need to do at the airport to maintain a viable commercial operation long into the future,” Peacock said.
In addition to the twice-weekly coffee chats, there will be two public open houses during Phase III. The first on Thursday, October 30th at the Pitkin County Library over the lunch hour 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. the second will be held on Wednesday, November 12th between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Airport Operations Center on Owl Creek Road. Visual representations of airport runway alternatives will be displayed and consultants and other experts will be on hand to answer questions and gather feedback. All Phase III documents and visual representations will also be available on the airport website at www.aspenairport.com. The website will offer a place for the public to offer comments and feedback about the process online.