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Opinion

The once and future MacArthur Airport

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet about to

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet about to take off at MacArthur Airport. (March 29, 2012) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Right in the middle of the Long Island MacArthur Airport terminal building on Tuesday night, crowds of curious Islip citizens lined up to look at a series of boards containing the earliest parts of the new airport master plan. The Town of Islip got permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to open it to public view earlier than usual in the process.

That early peek was a good idea, so long as the public gets further chances to comment on the plan as it develops. Supervisor Tom Croci promises there will definitely be further opportunities for Islip citizens to see what's proposed for the town's airport.

Croci wants MacArthur to grow and flourish, to be a good neighbor, and to provide more flight options for travelers. Those are all important goals, but balancing them correctly won't be easy. That has to start with a good master plan.

The aviation planning firm of Landrum & Brown is putting together the plan, which is expected to go to the FAA next May.

The idea is that the agency will look at it, see what ideas it finds useful, and begin to integrate them into long-term funding programs. Right now, L&B is looking at a variety of alternatives to the way the airport is currently laid out. As the process goes forward, the firm will maintain a link on the airport's website for public comment.

Meanwhile, take a look at the slides that visitors to the forum Tuesday got to see and let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Pictured above: A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet about to take off at MacArthur Airport.

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