A fixed base operator

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 9:15pm

Why does it seem so hard for the State of Rhode Island to simply grasp the idea that the Block Island Airport, this little, cozy, unquestionably necessary airport, is just never going to be a blockbuster in terms of revenue?

And why can’t the state, meaning the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, figure out some kind of deal with prospective fixed base operators so that, even though they may not make any money off Block Island, their remuneration of the management of all five general aviation airports will be lucrative enough to make it worth their while to take care of us?

While the Federal Aviation Administration may not require our airport to have a fixed base operator, it certainly doesn’t seem like a good idea not to have one.

Even the RFP issued by RIAC indicates the level of services required by the operator that has not been in place since October 1: collection of airport fees, recording airport operations, aircraft operator assistance — in other words, assisting with parking locations, responding to the radio, and assisting with any other pilot needs.

This airport is literally a lifeline, just like the ferry. People unexpectedly need to get to the mainland for any number of reasons, or they may need to come here, and sometimes the plane is the only option.

It just often feels as though the Block Island State Airport is an afterthought by those on the mainland. It’s not just a convenience for tourists. It’s essential to our way of life. Let’s hope the on-site operator RIAC hopes to have in place by February is a solution to these long-term issues.