Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I Pick Planes.

I just got back from visiting a subject property in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Over 10+ hours, I drove a total of 600+ miles to go from FRG’s northeast Ohio office to the subject and back to our office.

CESSNA172If I would have flown, I could have left after breakfast and would have been back at the office in time for a lunch meeting.   It would have cost me about $285 more to rent a Cessna 172 and fly myself roundtrip to Grand Rapids. For me, flying – just makes good business sense.

There are 5,300 general aviation airports in the United States with 550 servicing commercial airline travel.  In Ohio, there are 104 public-owned, public use airports.  In northeast Ohio, Burke Lakefront airport is the country’s first downtown and first municipally owned and operated airport.  And even with dwindling air traffic it is still amongst the busiest airports in Ohio due to executive travel, professional sports team travel and flight school use.

There has been a great deal of debate in the area about closing the airport…from it is no longer being needed for overflow traffic out of Hopkins to the airport is costing the city millions of dollars every year in loses.  I am not here to argue the merits of keeping or closing the airport as many before me have already done this and many after me will do so.  However, for me, I see value in keeping the airport open.

This summer Burke Lakefront airport played a major role as Cleveland played host to the NBA Finals and the first Republican Presidential Candidate debate.  August 6th the night of the GOP debate 100 aircraft were on the tarmac at Burke.  And in 2016, when Cleveland hosts the Republican National Convention the airport will host the Secret Service.  Of course the airport will not see NBA or GOP traffic every night but the airport can definitely play a major part in the resurgence of the metro Cleveland area.

  • Local Economy Investment: Burke Lakefront owners have made a commitment to invest in the airport
    • Building a new terminal that is scheduled to be completed prior to the 2016 GOP convention
    • The airport has secured grants for operational infrastructure improvements
  • Support Business Growth: The airport can attract businesses to stay in or open an office in Cleveland
    • With Hopkins no longer being a United Airlines hub, I can attest to the inconvenience of connecting flights between major cities
    • Companies could actually see a savings in time and money if they chartered flights out of Burke Lakefront airport when several executives were traveling to the same location.
  • Aviation Tradition: This is the birthplace of aviation – well, kind of
    • The Wright brothers constructed their first aircraft in their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio
    • And the state of Ohio has produced two very famous astronauts – John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth and Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the Moon

And then there are people like me, who just want to fly for recreation or business.  Well, I plan to build on Ohio’s aviation tradition.  As soon as I finish getting my pilot’s license, I’ll see you in the skies.