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MacArthur Airport landing fee isn't taking flight

A Southwest Airlines' 737 comes in for a

A Southwest Airlines' 737 comes in for a landing at MacArthur Airport. (March 29, 2012) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The Islip Town Board decided Tuesday to withdraw a resolution that, if approved, would have imposed a general aviation landing fee at MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma for the first time.

MacArthur is the only airport on Long Island with a control tower that doesn’t charge a landing fee for noncommercial, transient aircraft, deputy airport commissioner Terry Hennessey said last week. He said 89 percent of the airport’s landings last year were either general aviation or air taxi, and said he hoped the new fee could bring in $100,000 annually in revenue.

Several people involved in the local aviation scene — including air traffic controllers, flight school owners and aviation consultants — came to Tuesday’s board meeting to speak against the fee, which they said would hurt their businesses and business at MacArthur.

Despite the fact the resolution was on the town board’s agenda, officials said they had decided earlier in the day to withdraw it so they could do more research on what other airports around the state charge for landing fees. They also said they might look at reformulating the fee.

They also voted Tuesday to table a resolution that would have authorized Vector Airport Systems LLC, which Hennessey said was the only company to respond to a request for proposals both times a bid was put out, to manage the fee via their automated aircraft tracking system.

Vector would receive 20 percent of the fees for its service, according to the resolution.

“Vector is trying to sell you a product, RFP or not, they’re trying to sell you on a product that across the country is not the norm,” said Fred Kattermann, president of Islip Avionics Inc., who said the fee would hurt his full service avionics shop based in Ronkonkoma.

The fee on Tuesday’s agenda would have charged $1.44 per 1,000 pounds of gross landing weight, with a $10 minimum and an extra surcharge for landing between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Above: A Southwest Airlines 737 comes in for a landing at MacArthur Airport. (March 29, 2012)

 

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