Westchester County Airport

NO to LaGuardia North

STOP Westchester County Airport Expansion & Privatization

Citizens must take action now to prevent expansion & privatization that will lead to environmental harm and the loss of accountability at the airport.

Not only is the Westchester County Board of Legislators considering bids to privatize Westchester County Airport, but the final draft of the airport master plan calls for a dramatic expansion in airport traffic. If the airport is privatized, this may be citizens’ last chance to guide the future of the airport.

The airport master plan calls for dramatic expansion

  • Predicts a 68% increase in airline flights on large jets by 2032 by ignoring laws that limit airline traffic.[1]
  • Calls for a 50% increase in overnight parking for airliners to facilitate more early morning departures.[2]
  • Reserves space next to the terminal for “future modernization”[3] and recommends adding two gates.[4]
  • Calls for $153 million in public funds to build and renovate facilities for corporate jets.
  • Calls for $49.5 million in public funds to build two new parking garages next to the airline terminal with about 1700 spaces[5]

Privatization will cause harmful conflicts of interest and may cause a loss of accountability

  • Privatization will incentivize the county to maximize profits at the airport, perhaps by increasing traffic, decreasing security, or decreasing environmental protections. The county could change laws to accommodate a private operator.
  • Privatization may fundamentally change the relationship between the airport and the community. Depending on the terms of the lease, the next 30-40 years of decisions at the airport could be made in private rather than being subject to regular and continuing public oversight.
  • The private operator will maximize profits, perhaps at the expense of the community. Regulatory oversight of for-profit enterprises is difficult and prone to cheating, as we saw in the financial crisis.

Privatization will likely accelerate expansion and cause increased noise

  • Current law restricts airlines to 240 passengers and 4 arrivals or departures per half hour, but airlines could schedule 2.6x the number of flights today without any change in the law.
  • There are no constraints on the number of private flights. These flights account for 85-90%[6] of airport operations and most noise complaints and curfew violations.[7]
  • The easiest way to profits is by increasing aircraft traffic. Private operators want to make “capacity enhancing capital expenditures” to realize at least 9-11% returns on our “underutilized” airport.[8] [9]
  • Private traffic could shift to Westchester from Teterboro Airport in NJ, which has strict noise restrictions that we do not have.[10] If all of the flights at Teterboro came to Westchester, we would have double the flights we have today.[11]
  • Expansion will increase aircraft noise, air pollution, motor vehicle traffic, and the threat of contamination of groundwater and of the Kensico Reservoir.

Privatization may threaten our drinking water and put the county at financial risk

  • Some stormwater from the airport flows into the Kensico Reservoir, which supplies 90% of the water in NYC and much of Westchester. Over 9 million people get their drinking water from the reservoir, which is not filtered before it is delivered to taps.[12] Under county control, millions have been spent to minimize and monitor the flow of airport stormwater into the Kensico Reservoir.
  • A filtration plant to deal with contamination of the Kensico Reservoir could cost over $12 billion. The potential proceeds from privatization are insignificant by comparison.
  • The private operator is required to maintain only $5 million per incident and $10 million total of pollution insurance.[13] This is inadequate to clean up a chemical or fuel spill into the Kensico Reservoir.

[1] Westchester County Airport Final Draft Master Plan. Page 3-41

[2] Ibid. Page 5-20

[3] Ibid. Page 5-23

[4] Ibid. Pages 4-25, 4-26 and 4-30

[5] Ibid. Pages 5-20, 7-11, 7-16, and 7-18

[6] FAA Air Traffic Activity System, 2006-2017

[7] Westchester County Airport Monitor

[8] Oaktree Capital Managing Director Emmett McCann at the Westchester Board of Legislators Budget & Appropriations Committee Meeting, November 21, 2016

[9] Wilson, David McKay. “Tax Watch: Perils of Westchester airport privatization.” The Journal News, December 8, 2016.

[10] Teterboro Airport Noise Abatement Programs and Procedures

[11] FAA Air Traffic Activity System, 2006-2017

[12] Rueb, Emily S. “How New York Gets Its Water.” The New York Times, March 24, 2016.

[13] RFP Seeking a Public-Private Partnership for the Lease, Management, Operation, Maintenance, and Improvement of Westchester County Airport, page 50.

Take Action

Express your opposition by contacting members of the Westchester Board of Legislators.

Find your Westchester County Board of Legislator Representative District Here. Vote on November 7th, 2017. All members of the Board of Legislators are up for re-election.

Print and collect signatures of voters in Westchester for our Paper Petition. Bring the paper petition to your neighbors, groups, and friends. Collecting 22,300 registered Westchester voters’ signatures stops a deal from passing and brings the issue to a voter referendum.

Join our mailing list by signing our Online Petition.

Attend monthly county Airport Advisory Board meetings in the main airline terminal. Parking in the garage will be validated.

Provide your input for analysis of the Airport Master Plan, and of privatization plans as they come in.

Spread the word to neighbors and friends and have them call their County Legislator.

Attend a public meeting on the airport master plan in July, date / time / place to be announced