News and Insights

Lovins: Rush now! Latest alternative facts from the confusion mill

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
May 19, 2024

If you’re feeling confused about the airport, that’s not by accident. A chorus of surrogates, complementing the County’s mainly-false ad campaign, sets new Pinocchio records every week. Here we check Greg Goldfarb’s burgeoning nose length.

His guest commentary (“Support for airport modernization,” April 24, Aspen Daily News) starts by denying the community is divided on this issue — conflating what everyone agrees we need (new runway, terminal, etc.) with what a majority says we don’t need or want (bigger planes). A reputable poll found that Pitkin County voters oppose rebuilding the airfield for bigger planes by nearly 3-2. Goldfarb’s “vocal minority” seems to be an unheard majority.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Lovins: Pitkin County officials distracted over incorrect or irrelevant facts

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
April 21, 2024

Why move the Aspen-Pitkin County taxiway and runway further apart? So bigger planes won’t sideswipe. Whose bigger planes? Not airlines but private owners, especially of Gulfstream 650s. Does that merit a public investment of $229 million by all airport users plus $106 million by federal taxpayers? Why shouldn’t private jet owners pay, as we proposed, for what they want but the airlines don’t?

Wider separation doesn’t mean a wider runway, but the FAA wants that too, to fit a doubled-capacity Airbus that the airlines aren’t asking for and only Delta flies. It’s not certified to fly into Aspen, and the county’s lead forecaster personally thinks it never will. But the “need” flows from the county’s bogus high-growth forecast calling for bigger planes. The Airport Advisory Board never discussed and three county commissioners ignored that forecast’s well-documented fatal flaws. Ignoring major evidence that didn’t fit the desired outcome caused today’s airport dilemma.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Merrill: Citizens against Bigger Planes opposes both recent Aspen airport layout plans

Jackie Merrill, Guest Commentary, Aspen Times
April 16, 2024

Ironically, Jamie Klein’s letter, “Understanding the facts of Aspen airport,” on April 3 contains errors!

First: Klein is correct that passenger arrivals depend on bed space. If the expansionist forecast were based on bed space history, it would have predicted 2/3 LESS growth and no “need” for bigger planes.

Second: None of the commercial jets landing here are being phased out nor retired. The county forecaster (William Flock) confirms 20-30 more years of useful life for the CRJ 700. The Embraer 175 will eventually take its place and fits today’s airfield.

Read the entire article – Aspen Times


Strategy letter to the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners and Airport Advisory Board

Amory Lovins, April 8, 2024

This six-page letter updates Aspen Fly Right’s March 21, 2024 financial analysis of airport alternatives (see “Lovins: We can choose the airport we want—it’s already paid for” and Essay #17, “How to finance the airport we need—without FAA grants“) to adopt the latest County cost estimates and proposed airport layout. The conclusions don’t change: the airport doesn’t need the grants that the FAA conditions on rebuilding the airfield for bigger planes; the airport layout currently being sought costs far more extra than the grants offer, making them not worth accepting; and the cheaper layout now proposed costs roughly the same with grants as a better airport, not built for bigger planes, costs without grants. These game-changing findings suggest a seven-step alternative strategy for Commissioners to consider, and shows it may even be faster and easier than the currently proposed new layout for bigger planes, and at comparable net cost.


Lovins: It’s our home and we all deserve a say

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
April 7, 2024

Four letters in a curious daily drumbeat (Andrew Matus, March 24; Matt Ferguson, March 25; George Falk, March 26; Peter Fornell, March 27) continue to misinform Pitkin County voters about airport redevelopment. So let’s set the record straight, because the facts matter.

American Airlines, like others, will replace its 50-seat regional jets by 2030 with 76-seaters that fit Aspen Airport’s wingspan limit, FAA-set at 95 feet so planes can’t sideswipe. “The trends” do not dictate rebuilding the airfield now for a hypothetical next generation of even bigger planes. Aspen’s three airlines haven’t asked for bigger planes. They’re happy with the safe, reliable, profitable planes they fly now and, if they wish, for decades more — as the county’s lead forecaster says at aspenflyright.org/videos.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Lovins: We can choose the airport we want — it’s already paid for

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Times
March 24, 2024

Our airport doesn’t need the FAA’s discretionary grants, and it’s cheaper not to accept them.

Those grants cost too much because they’d be given only to build a new airfield to accept more, bigger, main­ly private planes. On current plans, that expansion would add more costs than it would add grant dollars. The bigger airfield with grants would cost the county more than a better airfield without grants. That better airfield would perfectly fit the planes we have, install a brand-new runway, and serve a modern doubled-size terminal.

Read the entire article – Aspen Times

Read the entire article – Aspen Times E-edition, page A6


New group to oppose expansion of runway

Andre Salvail, Aspen Daily News
March 22, 2024

A new group formed to fight the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport’s proposed runway projects to accommodate bigger planes says recent polling data shows 57% of county voters are opposed to the idea.

Citizens Against Bigger Planes said in a Thursday news release that while it supports a new terminal and other airport improvements, it does not support a proposed runway widening or greater separation between the runway and taxiway. The projects are touted by many airport redevelopment advocates — including county officials and a majority of the local Airport Advisory Board — as necessary to accommodate the next generation of aircraft with wider wingspans than the current 95-foot limit at ASE.

The new group is calling for a public vote on the runway and taxiway projects in lieu of leaving the ultimate decision on the airport’s future up to the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Lovins: We can choose the airport we want — it’s already paid for

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
March 21, 2024

The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport — our airport — doesn’t need the FAA’s discretionary grants, and it’s cheaper not to accept them.

Those grants cost too much, because they’d be given only to build a new airfield to accept more, bigger, mainly private planes. On current plans, that expansion would add more costs than it would add grant dollars. The bigger airfield with grants would cost the county more than a better airfield without grants. That better airfield would perfectly fit the planes we have, install a brand-new runway, and serve a modern doubled-size terminal.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Request for correction of a factual error by The Aspen Times, 2 March 2024

Amory Lovins
March 11, 2024

Dear Ray, Jonathan, and Josie,

This letter is not for publication but to request that you print a correction of an important error in your page-one article 2 March 2024, “FAA will not continue funding airport runway repairs.” Please forgive the length needed to explain the background.

The article incorrectly states: “The FAA has insisted multiple times—once in front of the Pitkin County commissioners and the Airport Advisory Board (AAB)—that the airport must widen its separation to allow aircraft with wingspans up to 118 feet, not just 95 feet, to use the airport, as dictated by the airport’s FAA design group standards.”

Read the entire request


Yes, we can afford local FBO control

Jackie Merrill, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
February 22, 2024

Editor:

Dennis O’Meara’s letter to the editor, (“There’s no way out of Aspen’s airport upgrade,” Aspen Daily News, Feb. 20) asked for an example of an Aspen-like airport that “forgoes FAA grant money and uses fixed-base operations revenue to fund capital improvements instead.”

Wrong question. Of course, the 1,562 publicly owned, mostly local-government-run U.S. airports that own and control their own FBOs (as of 2019) will take FAA grants if they can get them, but there are circumstances where foregoing FAA grants is the right thing to do.

For example, in 1993, the FAA withheld grants for Aspen’s airport over a curfew dispute between the county and private jet owners-operators. The people of Pitkin County won, which resulted in a fair and vital curfew, and the FAA grants resumed in 1995. We did the right thing then. Let’s do the right thing again.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Vaughan plays fast and loose with airport truths

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
February 7, 2024

Editor:

Once more, Barry Vaughan has played fast and loose with the facts, so let’s set the record straight — again.

His most recent letter (Jan. 25) portrays the two of us as very similar “friends” who differ about the proposed Aspen airport expansion. He claims I live “downvalley,” as he does, but I’ve lived in Old Snowmass (in Pitkin County), since 1982. He claims that we’re both “retirees,” but I work full-time, including as an adjunct professor at Stanford University. He claims we’re both newcomers to “upvalley politics,” but I’ve been active in local issues for more than three decades, as the Aspen Times reported on Aug. 30, 2020.

Mr. Vaughan also claims that neither of us has a financial interest in the airport expansion debate, and now acknowledges — abandoning his previous slur — that Aspen Fly Right is transparent about its finances (disclosed on our website from day 1). Yet he provides no comparable disclosure of his own. I’m not sure what we should make of his lack of transparency about any possible benefit he might get from supporting airport expansion.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Lovins gets it right on runway widening

Erika Leavitt, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
January 27, 2024

Editor:

Amory Lovins’ recent letter to the editor (“Lovins thinks Vaughan doth protest too much,” Jan. 23, Aspen Daily News) hit the nail on the head. Many of us who work or live in Pitkin County have grave concerns about the downstream consequences of widening the runway and unleashing a Pandora we cannot get back into the box. Here are some things to consider:

If Amory Lovins, a well-respected expert on environmental policy — who was named in the 2009 Time Magazine list of the “100 People Who Most Affect Our World” — is telling this community that Pitkin County’s plan to widen the runway and taxiway to bring in bigger planes is not environmentally sound, then we should be listening to him.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


What do you mean by ‘we,’ big-plane man?

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
December 28, 2023

The Pitkin County news release described in your front-page story (“Airport advisors support sending ALP update to federal agency,” Dec. 26, Aspen Daily News) claims the new airport plan’s updates “all … align with the Common Ground recommendations, a set of aspirational community goals approved by county commissioners in 2020.”

That’s untrue, as our fact-checks at Aspen Fly Right have long documented. And until now, none of those recommendations, except passenger growth rate, was “aspirational.” They were what our commissioners agreed the community wanted and they aimed to deliver.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News


Lovins: Pitkin County’s airport TV ad is false, misleading

Amory B. Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Times
December 27, 2023

Pitkin County’s airport ad campaign is not educational or neutral but false and misleading. It spreads artful concoctions, like “For continued safe and environmentally-sensitive operations, a new runway is needed NOW” — packing at least seven confusions into one sentence.

It’s odd to see the county spend public funds not only to convince us of what it claims we want, but also to deceive us with repeated untruths. Let’s fact-check specific claims, documenting details at aspenflyright.org/tvopeddocs.pdf.

The TV ad says: “A lot has changed since the eighties, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the Pitkin County Airport.”

This is misleading.

Read the entire article – Aspen Times

PITKIN COUNTY’S AIRPORT TV AD IS FALSE AND MISLEADING

Amory Lovins
Submitted to the Aspen Times, December 22, 2023


Imminence of CRJ-700 retirement overstated in initial ASE expansion studies

Laurine Lassalle, Aspen Journalism, Aspen Daily News
December 17, 2023

County-commissioned studies from a decade ago that predicted air carriers serving the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport would by now be phasing out the only commercial aircraft serving the market overstated the imminence of the CRJ-700’s retirement.

But how much longer the plane, which was last manufactured in 2011, can be expected to viably service the airport, known as ASE, for commercial carriers and what aircraft is best suited to eventually take its place remain central concerns as the community considers whether to modify the ASE airfield in a way that would allow larger airplanes.

Read the entire article, Aspen Daily News


Local group challenges Pitkin County’s airport ads

Austin Corona, Aspen Daily News
December 12, 2023

A local advocacy group is questioning the truthfulness of a new Pitkin County public information campaign that touts “modernization” of the Aspen Pitkin County Airport.

Aspen Flly Right, a nonprofit advocating against runway expansion at ASE, released a commentary in today’s newspaper that claims to debunk several statements included in the campaign, particularly regarding a newly approved layout plan for the airport.

Read the entire article – Aspen Daily News – page 1

‘Modernization’ of Aspen airport means more and bigger planes

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
December 12, 2023

You may have seen the barrage of new ads from Pitkin County to convince us we need an expanded airport for bigger planes. They’re spending $80,245 and have budgeted $170,000 of public enterprise funds for a slick professional TV, radio, and print advertising campaign, echoing the half-million-dollar outreach that urged airport expansion about a decade ago.

The new campaign and its supporting site aspenairport.com/modernization promote the County’s plan for more and bigger airplanes by calling it something else – Modernization.

Read the entire article, Aspen Daily News, page 10

Annotated version documenting the 12 Dec 2023 Aspen Daily News published version. The two texts might not exactly agree due to minor edits. In the text below, “FALSE” refers to italicized County claims and “TRUTH” to facts documented by Aspen Fly Right.

https://aspenflyright.org/1223opeddoc.pdf

 


At Aspen’s airport for the rich, a typically Colorado debate: Expand or stay small?

Private planes usually get first dibs at an airport frequented by billionaires. An expanded runway might help traffic, but a local group is fighting the issue.

Tracy Ross, The Colorado Sun
October 8, 2023

There are times at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport when the sky is clogged with so many planes attempting to land in the same timeframe that air traffic control will have to put some in a holding pattern. Often, those planes are commercial flights, bringing tourists to town from Denver or Chicago. When those United or American flights grow low on fuel from all the circling—which they often do, because their range is limited—they’ll typically be diverted to Grand Junction.

Landing at Aspen is first come, first served under FAA rules for the one-runway airport that sits along Colorado 82 northwest of Aspen, a few thousand yards from the children’s ski school at Buttermilk Resort, owned by Aspen Skiing Company.

Read the entire article


PitCo calls the shots at ASE, not the FAA

Duchess Diaz, Opinion, Aspen Daily News
October 1, 2023

I am writing to address numerous mischaracterizations and falsehoods in Barry Vaughan’s letter (“FAA calls the shots, even for ASE,” Sept. 26, Aspen Daily News.) To refute his points in order:

The “retirement of the CRJ-700” myth needs to be put to rest once and for all. To my knowledge, SkyWest has made no such claim. Does Mr. Vaughan have a viable source stating otherwise? Back in 2012, the county claimed that up to half the CRJ-700 fleet would be retired by 2024. Yet, we do not know of a single plane that has been put out of service.

“Modernization” of the airport is verbal judo for “expansion of airside.” (Primarily to accommodate the G650.) We do not need to expand to “modernize.”

Read the entire article


Aspen mayor concerned about rough landing for airport plan

Scott Condon, Aspen Daily News
September 21, 2023

Aspen Mayor Torre added his voice Tuesday to a chorus calling on the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners to use care not to trigger growth through their decisions at the airport.

In a joint meeting between commissioners and the Aspen City Council, Torre ended the two-hour session expressing concern about the potential for unintended consequences of the commissioners’ decisions.

The county is working on an Airport Layout Plan that maps out possible improvements and changes to the facility. The plan needs to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration before federal funding would be available for redevelopment projects. To appease the FAA, the plan must adhere to its standards on runway size and other infrastructure configurations.

Read the entire article


PitCo is not ‘green’ on airport matters

Ellen W. Anderson, Opinion, Aspen Daily News
September 6, 2023

This letter originally was sent to the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners.

On the morning of Friday, Sept. 1, there was such a glut of 17 private planes departing from the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport that two heavily-loaded commercial flights trying to land were put into holding patterns for such a long time that they were running low on gas and therefore diverted to Grand Junction to refuel.

One was United 5607 from Denver, the other American 3164 from Chicago.

The FAA requires a “first come, first served” system for operating at ASE. The private planes were able to preempt the commercials because they were first in line. Not only were the approximately 140 commercial passengers understandably angered by their hours-late arrivals, but the cascading effect subsequently caused hundreds more commercial passengers to be late and miss connections.

Read the entire article


ASE can serve community without wider runway

Valerie Braun, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
August 3, 2023

I am a member of the Aspen Airport Advisory Board, but I am writing on behalf of myself to respond to a news article that reported on a recent Aspen Chamber Resort Association meeting.

I disagree with the characterization that the reason for airport runway widening is safety. Since the 95-foot wingspan restriction was put into place decades ago by thoughtful former members of the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners, the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport has operated commercial aviation completely safely with a 100-foot-wide runway and a 320-foot separation the center lines of the runway and the taxiway.

Read the entire article


Lovins: Reframing prudent Aspen airport strategy

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
July 12, 2023

This community will be shaped for generations by two seemingly arcane decisions scheduled for July 12 (today) and the coming weeks: 1) whether to adopt an airport growth and fleet-mix forecast calling for bigger commercial planes and allowing bigger private planes (including loud and dirty old 737s); and (2) whether to keep sending fixed-base operation (FBO) revenues to Texas, or keep $15-plus million a year reinvested in the Aspen airport and declare independence from federal grants mandating expansion.

Aspen Fly Right sent the Airport Advisory Board a trenchant technical assessment finding the airport forecast “unsound and unreliable” (Essay No. 15, aspenflyright.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/ABL-essay-15_Forecast_dr11s.pdf.) Some members read it, but the advisory board didn’t discuss it before recommending the forecast to the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners.

Read the entire article


Lovins: Official myths or honest dialogue?

Amory Lovins, Opinion, Aspen Times
June 6, 2023

Based upon faulty assumptions, flawed analysis, and staff misstatements, Pitkin County is on the verge of approving an Aspen/Pitkin County Airport forecast that calls for bigger, louder, and dirtier planes.

Is this what our valley wants?

On May 4, Aspen Fly Right posted an essay, “Fact-checking airport claims: Over half are false.” Of 27 common statements about Aspen’s airport, mainly official, 14 were false, two partly false, and only two true. We’ve seen no improvement since.

Read the entire article


Lovins: Straighten up and fly right

Amory Lovins, Guest Commentary, Aspen Daily News
June 4, 2023

Blessed with an honest and capable Board of County Commissioners, we citizens tend to assume that major public decisions rest on facts and reason. Not so on perhaps the most consequential choice in Pitkin County’s history.

The Airport Advisory Board voted 5-2 on May 18 to recommend that the BOCC send the Federal Aviation Administration a new forecast of how many of which airplanes will fly into Aspen. The advisory board trusted county staff to report facts accurately. Alas, their trust was misplaced.

Read the entire article


Runge: A team of rivals

Letter to the Editor, Aspen Times
May 22, 2023

Why was Amory Lovins not selected to be on the Airport Advisory Board? He applied to be on the board. He is imminently qualified. He is obviously willing to commit the time and energy on this important community airport expansion issue.

But like many of us who were publicly opposed to expanding our airport, especially based on the false premise that the CRJs were being phased out, the Pitkin County commissioners did not select any of the loud opposing voices to join the advisory board. In other words, they did not put together a team of rivals that would have had a much better chance of developing a community consensus around future airport decisions. Instead, airport opposition voices were constrained to editorials and letters to the editor.

I understand this lack of community consensus must be very frustrating to the existing members of the Airport Advisory Board, who have spent countless hours working on airport issues. Jackie Francis in particular has spent over two decades working on this issue, and this community owes her a debt of thanks that we can never repay.

Cliff Runge
Aspen

Read the entire article


Ireland: Too soon to be right about airport


If we don’t want more growth, Amory Lovins may have the answer.

An hour or so of listening and review of Amory’s detailed response to the Federal Aviation Administration claims about the airport leaves one question unanswered: Do we, as a community want more growth?

That’s where the FAA wants us to go by building a bigger landing space that will basically allow 737s and other aircraft with passenger capacities much greater than those of the jets currently used by the commercial airlines serving Aspen.

Some community members think federal funding for terminal improvements requires us to change our minds and decide there really is some s–t we will eat, Dr. Thompson’s rolling in his afterlife notwithstanding.

Read the entire article


County isn’t exploring all of its airport alternatives

Editor:

I have been a licensed private pilot for over 50 years, and have been a general aviation tenant at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport with my little single-engine Piper Dakota for 35 years.

Needless to say, I’ve been very frustrated with the huge influx of large private jets over the past several years, especially since the pandemic. I have also been frustrated with the neglect, lack of service and high fuel prices (with no more locals’ discounts) from the current fixed-base operator. As challenging as it might be, I would much rather see Pitkin County take over the operation of an FBO, obviously contracting out some of the specialized services. The idea of a huge corporation making millions of dollars from our local airport is sickening.

Read the entire article


ASE board to consider report on fleet mix, travel growth

People on both sides of the local debate on ASE expansion are being urged to attend Thursday’s meeting of the Airport Advisory Board, which could feature a vote on whether to accept a report that includes a forecast on aviation demand and commercial fleet mix.

The vote was postponed on April 20 because advisory board members wanted more time to study the actual report, the findings of which had been presented during last month’s meeting in an abbreviated format. The report has been deemed important because if it is accepted by the advisory board, it would be passed on as a recommendation to the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners for approval to the updated Airport Layout Plan, or ALP, a document that is currently under development.

Read the entire article


Don’t be fooled: Pitkin County has a choice in airport’s future

On Tuesday, April 11, John Bauer from the Federal Aviation Administration participated in a Q&A session with the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners and the Airport Advisory Board. His remarks were not encouraging.

But looked at another way, perhaps they opened up new possibilities to control our airport’s future.

Currently the Aspen airport has 85 modifications from the national design standards for airports handling planes with wingspans up to 118 feet. Some of those exceptions make our airport safe only for wingspans up to 95 feet. Mr. Bauer said that the FAA wanted to eliminate about half of those modifications because the FAA doesn’t like restrictions or modifications. He said if Aspen does not increase the separation of the taxiway and runway from 320 feet to 400 feet, then the FAA will likely refuse any future discretionary grant funding.

Read the entire article


FAA official: ‘Changes needed’ at Aspen airport

At the start of Tuesday’s question-and-answer period, John Bauer warned the crowd that they weren’t going to like some of his comments.

Bauer, northwest region manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, spoke at the county administration building about matters pertaining to the proposed redevelopment of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and his agency’s role within it. He was an invited guest at a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners and the Airport Advisory Board.

From the beginning, he stressed that the FAA is most interested in “safety and access.” To him, and his employer, an airside project that would create greater separation between the runway and the taxiway — and as a result, allow larger aircraft to use the airport — speaks to both of those interests.

Read the entire article


PitCo can, and should, run FBO

Letter to the Editor, Aspen Daily News
29 March 2023

Editor:

We are writing to ask you to consider deeply the nature and purpose of local government in our Aspen community as it relates to future management of the fixed-base operator (FBO) that serves private planes using the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

Jackie Merrill and Jay Hughes
Aspen

Read the entire article


Air pollutant study shows high concentration at Buttermilk during high-traffic hours

By Rich Allen, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
17 March 2023

On Thursday, local nonprofit Aspen Fly Right released a 33-page essay on air pollutants near the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, finding substantial upticks related to increased traffic along Highway 82 but not taking measurements on the nanoparticles that make up a large component of jet exhaust, urging further study on the matter.

Read the entire article


Aspen Fly Right holds meeting on airport’s future

By
14 March 2023

As the debate on the future of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport continues, local nonprofit Aspen Fly Right is urging a prioritization of new aviation technology before committing to expensive and potentially outdated changes.

In a community meeting Monday night at the Pitkin County Library, Amory Lovins, president of the nonprofit, suggested that inbound developments in electric and hybrid planes may pose a solution to many of the topics of discussion such as aircraft size, capacity, noise and public safety.

Read the entire article


An airport town hall hopes for a greener, smaller future for Aspen’s airside

By Josie Taris
13 March 2023

As Pitkin County grapples over the future of the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, a community group led by one of the valley’s most well-known thinkers stepped up to offer its analysis.

Aspen Fly Right is a nonprofit group whose mission is to offer scientific, actionable information relating to the airport. The group hosted an airport “Town Hall” in the Dunaway Community Room at the Pitkin County Library Monday evening, which drew a crowd of about 60 people.

Read the entire article


Pitkin County faces challenge reducing airport emissions

By

Pitkin County officials are facing the daunting challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the airport at a time when aircraft operations, particularly private ones, are on the rise.

The county commissioners and the Airport Advisory Board have set a goal of reducing airport emissions by 30% by 2030 from a baseline established by using the average of emissions from 2019 and 2020.

“Meanwhile, we have a challenge because fuel sales and related emissions are on the climb,” Airport Advisory Board member Rick Heede told the commissioners Tuesday. “We need to bend the curve to the downside by 2030.”

Read the entire article


Airport assumptions

Letter to the Editor, Aspen Daily News
23 January 2023

Editor:

There has been a lot of discussion around the airport lately, although in reading the papers, you might have missed it. There seems to be a media drought around it locally. The Aspen Airport Board and the Pitkin BOCC seem to be stuck in the same debate they have historically proposed. We will “run out” of available airplanes suitable to fly into Aspen and provide the 17% of commercial flights that serve the bulk of our community.

Well, it’s 2023 and there is no end in sight for the use of these planes. SkyWest was forecasted to retire half of them by a year ago and all by 2025, but has actually retired zero. The county’s own top technical consultant on aviation disputes this. Thus, the most basic parameter underlying the push for bigger planes was misforecast by decades; the argument for reconfiguring the runway and taxiway to allow larger planes was based on inaccurate information. It brings into question what other information we might have gotten wrong and what other misinformation we are still hearing that will set our airport strategy and size. For information on this debate, go to https://aspenflyright.org.

Susan Taylor
Woody Creek

Read the entire article


New nonprofit, Aspen Fly Right, to tout airport options

By Andre Salvail, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
18 December 2022

Renowned physicist and Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder Amory Lovins and others who are concerned about Pitkin County’s direction on local airport redevelopment have ­started a nonprofit with the goal of exploring alternate ideas and sharing them with the community.

The nonprofit is called Aspen Fly Right, and a website has been created (aspenflyright.org). The group began running full-page advertisements in Aspen’s daily newspapers late last week and plans to do so on a regular basis. The ads will explore different topics each week, Lovins said Saturday.

Read the entire article


ASE: Playing it safe, at the safety dance

By Andre Salvail, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
18 December 2022

Safety, safety, safety.

It’s a word that’s repeated often during nearly any discussion involving the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and plans for its redevelopment, or airport operations in general.

Safety was a primary topic during the 2019-20 ASE Vision process that led to the formation and adoption of the lengthy list of ­Common Ground recommendations for the redevelopment of the airport. Often, various forms of data are used to support the perception — some say the conclusion — that general aviation operations at the airport are less safe than commercial airline activity. Private jet activity, according to airport officials, accounts for around 80% of overall operations at ASE while commercial flight operations make up about 20%.

Read the entire article