I would have the Griffiss International Airport become the regional center for all types of aircraft maintenance, repair and overall services, and an educational center for aeronautical education and job skills training ...Sounds like doing more of what we've been doing, doesn't it?
I recently discussed with representatives of the U.S. Transportation Security Agency about creating a TSA-sponsored security training program at the airport. I would like for this airport to be an aeronautical education center.Hmm . . . Aren't we doing the "homeland security" thing at the OLD Oneida County Airport?
Could the airport ever become a commercial airport with commercial airlines?Same old, same old, same old . . .
No. That's totally unrealistic at this point in time.
Mr. Gray can be forgiven for his vision being exactly what we've already had . . . He's new to the job and needs to please his bosses. . . .
But, you have to wonder, just exactly whose vision have the taxpayers been paying to implement all these years? Who has been calling the shots? Certainly not the Board of Legislators . . . they are mainly rubber stamps.
This "vision" for the airport is troubling.
First of all, becoming a "regional aircraft maintenance center" with a supportive "aircraft education center" makes it sound like the Oneida County taxpayers have become business partners with Empire Aero . . . but without the benefits of partnership such as sharing the profits and setting corporate policy. It is doubtful that the county is trying to attract other aircraft maintenance companies to Griffiss. This fits the pattern of county officials becoming too close to those they deal with to be able to make objective decisions.
Second, dismissing the potential for commercial service permanently places Utica-Rome at a disadvantage when compared to smaller markets such as Elmira-Corning and Ithaca that have such service. While it may be "unrealistic" now because we've stupidly destroyed our old airport with its passenger terminal and can't afford to build a new one, to dismiss the possibility in light of comparative population statistics is simply wrong.
Third, visioning more of the same overlooks Griffiss' true 'diamond-in-the-rough' potential as a regional intermodal cargo port. Use your Mid-York library card and search the Syracuse papers in NewsBank under "Griffiss cargo" and "Hancock cargo" and see what you pull up. Oneida County leaders need to think beyond the county when dealing with something as big as Griffiss.
People in Syracuse see Griffiss' potential for cargo . . . and see it as helping them . . . Why can't we?
If you are going to be successful in business, you have to look for a niche and fill it! Oneida County should not overlook the obvious.