Thursday, September 29, 2016

Letter: Were Cleveland Hopkins International Airport passengers at risk?

The Associated Press article "Airport awarded $8M grant for snow removal" in the Sept. 19 Dispatch was a very troubling article.

The article stated that "Cleveland Hopkins International Airport had been given an $8 million grant to prevent recurrence of runway de-icing problems that resulted in unsafe conditions at the airport over the winter."

That sounds like good news, but the article went on to say that "the city agreed last year to pay the FAA a $200,000 fine to settle four cases that cited the city for poor airport snow removal. The agency said the slippery runways forced planes to divert to other airports." So, last year, planes were being diverted, personal plans were disrupted, appointments were missed, personal budgets were shot, additional risks were incurred in landing at unfamiliar airports and, rather than the FAA giving them money to immediately upgrade their snow removal fleet, it levied a $200,000 fine. That certainly didn't help its budget for new equipment.

What is troubling to me is that the Federal Aviation Administration and the city of Cleveland were both willing to put the lives of air travelers at risk while they went through the investigation and fine process, and also the political process, so U.S. Rep Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, could announce the grant during the fall election cycle.

It also troubles me that by waiting this long, it probably does not have enough lead time for any alleviation before the winter storms come.

Guess which airport I will avoid this winter.

Tom Currie 


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