Originally created 11/28/01

Ex-traffic controller's suggestions for Augusta's airports



I see no justification for a new terminal, air traffic control facility or parallel runways, etc., at Bush Field.

I was an air traffic controller, having spent my last two years at Bush Field before retiring in 1974. Air traffic activity (landings and takeoffs) averages around 150 "operations" per day at Bush Field. There isn't enough air traffic to justify keeping the control tower open between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

I was also an air traffic controller in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for 19 years. We had a single runway, 10,000 feet long with an 8,000 foot parallel taxiway. At that time, there were 28 loading gates (today, there are more than 38 gates plus an additional runway.) An Air National Guard squadron was based on the airport which consisted of F104 fighter jets.

We had a mix of aircraft - small, large, fast and slow. On peak days, we would average over 700 operations (landings and takeoffs). If I remember correctly, passenger traffic exceeded 2 million per year. Based on these statistics, Bush field is operating at less than 10 percent of capacity.

My suggestion for Augusta is: Build parallel runways at Bush Field and move all aviation activities from Daniel Field to Bush Field. Build facilities to accommodate Daniel Field activities on the east side of the north/south runway.

At Daniel Field, build a large stadium or colosseum to seat 10,000 to 12,000 people with plenty of room for parking and associated facilities. Then, high caliber celebrities will be attracted.

Augusta cannot justify two airports. Passenger traffic will not get much better than it is at this time.

John T. Petrozello, Martinez, Ga.