Business Aviation Picking Up In Boston

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The business aviation sector got some positive press from the mainstream media this week when The Boston Globe reported that corporate jet activity was up by 7 percent in 2010 at Hanscom Field, a small GA airport close to the city. Bill Herp, president of Linear Air, said his business doubled in 2010 compared to the year before. Herp charters four Eclipse jets out of the field, charging about $1,500 an hour. Rectrix Aviation, another local charter company, said business was up 15 percent, and they hired three pilots and added a jet to their fleet in September. The number of jets based at Hanscom has increased by a third in the last three years, and the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the field, is planning to expand.

"We have a waiting list of aircraft that want to come into Hanscom," Massport executive director Thomas Kinton told the Globe. Plans call for 400,000 square feet of new hangar space, plus expanding a current 18,000-square-foot hangar to three times its size. The project may face opposition from neighbors, however, who have challenged the FAA's expansion plans in court, saying that local historical sites and a wildlife refuge will be adversely affected by added traffic. Neighbors have challenged aviation activities in the area in the past, even filing lawsuits against individual pilots who they said were practicing noisy aerobatic maneuvers too close to homes.