Banning The BBJ

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Rep. Rothman Gets His Way...

When is a Boeing 737 not a Boeing 737? When it’s a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), of course. Boeing’s uber-bizjet has long been the subject of both envy and scorn -- and not a small amount of controversy -- because of its size. Yet that size, which means much more flexibility in its cabin configuration, and its commonality with the majority of airliners operated throughout the world has made it a popular choice for businesses that need and can afford all that the BBJ offers. But that doesn't mean it's popular with the general public. Most recently, residents of northern New Jersey claimed victory in a months-long effort to ban the BBJ from Teterboro Airport (TEB) outside of New York. It seems that -- despite claims to the contrary by the FAA, industry and others that the BBJ is not an airliner and not involved in scheduled operations -- the locals were not convinced. The end result was late January's Congressional approval of language sponsored by U.S. Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ) effectively preventing the FAA from overriding a locally imposed ban on aircraft weighing more than 100,000 lbs. The BBJ's unmodified maximum gross takeoff weight is 171,000 lbs. and, despite various workarounds that have been proposed from time to time, the 69-odd BBJs in service won't be operating at TEB anytime soon.

Of course, Rep. Rothman and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey lost no time in claiming victory: "With the enactment of my legislation, we have banned the 737 Boeing Business Jet from Teterboro Airport and sent a strong message to those who seek to destroy our quality of life: 'We don't want your jumbo jets in our backyards and we never will,'" Rothman said. Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia also praised the legislation, saying, "We thank Congressman Rothman and Senators Corzine and Lautenberg for their leadership in securing this legislation -- the first of its kind in the nation -- that will protect the citizens of Bergen County and keep Teterboro Airport operating as a general aviation facility."