Masséna International Airport strives to maintain its status as a regional site | St. Lawrence County
MASSENA — Massena International Airport director Frank J. Diagostino is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to maintain the airport’s status as regional rather than local.
Mr. Diagostino told the Massena city council that the airport has five fixed-base aircraft and that the FAA requires at least 10 to maintain its status as a regional airport.
“A week ago, the FAA challenged fixed-base aircraft and general aviation. They wanted the number of planes we had,” he said.
Failure to meet the 10 fixed base aircraft requirement could mean that the airport would become a local airport and this could impact future funding.
“So we contacted them saying, ‘That’s what we do at Massena airport, and we do a lot of other things besides general aviation,'” Mr Diagostino said.
He said the community has lost a lot of well-paying jobs and that, in turn, means that if someone no longer lives in Massena, they will not fly their planes to Massena International Airport.
“So I tried to give them that information. Right now we’ve changed our fixed base number to five. We’re still coded as a regional airport, which we want to be regional. We don’t want to be basic or local, so our funding is still in place,” Diagostino said. “The funding that’s there, it’s still coming to us.
City Councilman Thomas C. Miller asked if Massena had an advantage because he has the equipment that would allow a plane to land in bad weather, a feature not available at other local airports.
Diagostino said Massena is the only airport in the region to have generator backup systems for the airfield, terminal, aircraft rescue and firefighting, or ARF, and fuel farm , allowing it to remain open even in the event of a natural disaster.
“So that was one of the things that I mentioned to them,” he said. “Right now, everything is status quo. We have changed our inventory from what we have for fixed base aircraft. There could be a lot more conversations if they decide to (change the airport designation). »
Mr Diagostino also reported on the latest figures from Boutique Air from the airport.
“The total number (boardings) for January was 436, so we’ve come down a lot,” he said. “There is a struggle with the airline, with the equipment, and a big struggle with a shortage of pilots. They are working on it. They’re supposed to have 12 pilots they’re trying to hire, and they’ve got some equipment issues that they need to work on.