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Criticism of Tweed New Haven Airport grows amongst neighbors as expansion continues

Neighbors pressed airport and city officials Tuesday over Avelo Airlines’ presence and expansion proposals. There are concerns over noise, traffic, and more.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Neighbors of Tweed New Haven Airport pressed airport officials and city leaders Tuesday night over concerns with the growing airport.

Avelo Airlines started flying from the airport in November and now offers 14 nonstop destinations with many arrivals and departures daily. As a result, neighbors are frustrated with the noise, traffic, and other issues that have come with it.

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“You’re just annoyed by this huge noise and it diminishes your quality of life,” Sam Rigg said. “It wasn’t that busy when we decided to live here 20 years ago and now it’s increasing and we’re afraid of the expansion making it much worse.”

The airport is proposing to extend the runway by more than a thousand feet, decommission the cross-wind runway, and move the terminal to East Haven. The airport sits between the town and New Haven.

Credit: FOX61
Neighbors of Tweed New Haven Airport pressed airport and city officials Tuesday on proposed expansions of the airport and Avelo Airlines' presence.

Airport Executive Director Sean Scanlon said the airport has been successful with the new airline after American Airlines, which only offered one daily flight, left in September. Many at the meeting Tuesday said the busy airport is not wanted in New Haven. Scanlon said people of the state have shown the value of having the airport with ticket sales.

“We have a great thing happening here. We’ve created over 150 new jobs,” he said. “We have air service for the first time in a long time here. We want to do that though in a way that’s responsive to the neighborhood.”

He said the concerns from residents are real and respected. The airport is following the process to look at the issues. They are currently doing an environmental assessment study expected to be completed within weeks. It will be passed along to the FAA to review and made available to the public.

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There were many issues neighbors shared at the meeting including damage to homes from the planes’ vibrations, potential health risks, impact on wildlife and the environment, home values, and more. The airline is in compliance with local and federal noise ordinances.

“This whole big airport isn’t feasible for small towns,” one said. “It’s not for the good of everyone.”

The airport said they are working to address these issues. Avelo Airlines came to a voluntary agreement to stop departing before six in the morning and after ten at night. Planes will not arrive after 11 p.m. Starting September 8th, planes will not take off before 6:30 a.m. 

Credit: FOX61
Avelo Airlines will reduce overnight take-offs and landings at Tweed New Haven Airport because of noise complaints from neighbors.

The airline has also taken steps to improve air quality including engines off until cleared to taxi for takeoff and planes will taxi on a single-engine when possible. The airport announced Tuesday they are working with the city to offer parking at Union Station with a free shuttle to and from the airport. Other traffic improvements have been made including the addition of four-way stops, speed humps, speed enforcement, raised crosswalks, signal re-design, and more.

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Scanlon said they are trying to find ways to reconfigure the existing parking space because of the increased demand. He said they’re trying to balance the needs of the airport with the thoughts of neighbors.

Some voiced concerns about potential freight carriers coming to the airport, but Scanlon said that is not in the plan as of now.

“This is a residential neighborhood,” Rigg said. “We don’t have the space for an expanding airport.”

Credit: FOX61
'Stop Tweed Expansion' sign near the Tweed New Haven airport.

There will be a late-summer meeting to go over the environmental assessment followed by a public comment period in the fall. They expect a decision to be made on whether the expansions proceed or not in the fall.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tblack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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