Dogged determination

Thu, 03/14/2019 - 7:45pm

The saying “back to square one” almost always indicates that a lot of time has been wasted, with no tangible results.

However, in the case of the Block Island State Airport, the statement applies in a positive way. After several months of dialogue, spearheaded by a very determined island resident, Henry duPont, State Sen. Susan Sosnowski announced on Wednesday, March 13, that the Rhode Island Airport Corporation had reached a deal that would provide appropriate staffing at the local airport beginning April 1, 2019.

That staffing will be provided by FlightLevel Aviation, the fixed base operator that had been in place last year. Their contract was only for seasonal work, and the company left at the end of October. This raised red flags immediately, with duPont, and other state and local officials, wondering why the contract issued by RIAC excluded year-round staffing at the airport. Block Island was being treated differently than the other general aviation airports in the state.

Now that staffing has been returned, Sosnowski rightly said the dialogue should pivot to the “greater question of what Block Island Airport could and should be from an economic development standpoint.”

This is a far more important discussion, and kudos to everyone, particularly duPont, who worked so hard to point us in that direction.