Vineyard airport part of federal safety meetings

Local officials say MVY isn’t facing any runway concerns, but undergoing routine, federal review.

Martha's Vineyard Airport director Geoff Freeman says there are no worries for the runway. —MV Times

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is conducting runway safety meetings at 90 airports around the country, including Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

Local airport officials say that it’s a routine meeting and does not highlight any issues at the Island’s runway.

According to a press release from the FAA, the agency issued a “safety call to action” in February after a “string of incidents” at airports across the country.

“We are experiencing the safest period in aviation history, but we cannot take this for granted,” FAA acting administrator Billy Nolen said in the February memorandum. “Recent events remind us that we must not become complacent. Now is the time to stare into the data and ask hard questions.”

During these Runway Safety Action Team meetings, airport stakeholders — including airlines, pilots, airport vehicle drivers, and others — gather to “identify unique risks to surface safety at that airport and develop plans to mitigate or eliminate those risks,” according to the FAA. The release states these meetings are held annually at airports with control towers and act as “the primary forum for pinpointing and addressing airport-specific risk in the surface environment,” which will result in a Runway Action Safety Plan. 

Martha’s Vineyard Airport director Geoff Freeman said the meeting planned on the Vineyard was actually part of an annual meeting for Martha’s Vineyard Airport that got postponed.

“It’s just a rescheduling of the April meeting,” he said, adding that the meeting was pushed back to late September, due to operational issues at the air traffic control tower. Freeman said the meeting will cover potential hotspots, possible issues with the tower or runway, and go through “checking the boxes” so the federal government is done with its duties before the end of its fiscal year, which lasts from October 1 to September 30. 

No problems on the runway have come through his desk, according to Freeman. The FAA would also be notified of any issues on the runway. 

When asked whether the several airplane crashes over the summer from aircraft coming to and going from Martha’s Vineyard Airport would be a discussion point for the meeting, Freeman said this was a separate issue.