Fernandina Airport Advisory Committee Held 2nd Meeting

The committee was formed to oversee and contribute input to the airport master plan effort being prepared by the City of Fernandina Beach.

Fernandina Airport Advisory Committee Held 2nd MeetingThe City of Fernandina Beach’s Airport Master Plan Technical Advisory Committee held its second meeting January 8, 2015 in the city commission chambers. Teresa Prince chairs the committee, which consists of local citizens – including business owners and aviation enthusiasts.

The committee was formed to oversee and contribute input to the airport master plan effort being prepared by the City of Fernandina Beach. The planning process is being led by Passero Associates, the City’s airport consulting firm. As Dr. Dave Byers (planning team member) pointed out, the TAC does much more than oversee the plan – it actually co-creates the Master Plan for the City, with the support of the Passero Team. The resulting plan will be “your plan, not our plan,” as Dr. Byers told the TAC.

Zach Nelson, Project Manager for Passero, addressed the use of the word “expansion” in the initial press release for this project, and admitted that it was a poor choice of words. Mr. Nelson assured everyone at the well-attended meeting that the focus of the airport master plan is to develop action and developmental plans within the current geographical boundaries of the Airport. There are no plans to expand the physical footprint of Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport (FHB).

The meeting discussion was then focused on three (3) distinct elements. Dr. Byers led the group in a SWOT analysis, focused on discerning what TAC members felt to be the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for the Airport. Mr. Nelson followed by presenting an inventory of existing airport conditions and led the group in the determination of a preferred aeronautical activity forecast through 2035.

As part of Dr. Byers SWOT analysis, a questionnaire was handed out. The meeting area was then quiet for approximately 10-15 minutes, while TAC members filled out the forms individually. This brainstorming session allowed TAC members to form and express their own understanding of what assets/opportunities the Airport has, and what challenges it may face during future business operations.

Following the SWOT analysis, Mr. Nelson presented information on the existing conditions of the airport, including detailed discussion on airport infrastructure (both airside and landside), airport support equipment, instrument approach capability, meteorological conditions, and environmental factors on airport property. As part of this discussion, Mr. Nelson led the group in a review of current runway design classifications and how they affect FAA airport design criteria. Mr. Nelson mentioned that airport design criteria will be discussed in more detail during future meetings, when the TAC is asked to review a number of airfield development alternatives to meet forecasted aeronautical demand through the year 2035.

As a primer for these future meetings, Mr. Nelson provided an overview of developable areas on airport property and environmental factors. Nelson also stressed the need to consider environmental factors early in the planning process. This proactive approach should satisfy the City’s intentions to prepare an environmentally responsible, updated Master Plan.

The team approach between the TAC and Passero staff continued as aviation demand forecasting was discussed. Projections through 2035 for both based aircraft numbers and annual aircraft operations at the airport were presented using a number of forecasting methodologies, including trend-line, market share, application of national growth rates, and application of State forecasted growth rates as published by FDOT. The TAC was asked to review and discuss the merits and applicability of each of the forecasting methodologies and build consensus around a preferred forecast. After an engaging discussion, the TAC group agreed that the FDOT forecasts were most appropriate for FHB and the master plan effort. The next TAC meeting is scheduled for April 9, 2015 and will focus on a variety of needed airport facilities and development alternatives intended to adequately meet the needs of airport users over the planning period.

Working on behalf of the City, Passero Associates communicates to the City of Fernandina Beach, its citizens and Municipal Airport stakeholders, the ongoing process of developing a master plan for FHB. This planning process will be periodically reported to the public in the form of meetings to be held in Fernandina Beach. The FHB Communications Plan involves conducting and documenting five public meetings and distributing concise summaries to the public via periodic press releases; email; social media; and a website: www.fbfl.us/airportplanningproject

For more information on the planning process, please contact Zach Nelson at (904) 757-6106 or email to FBmasterplan@yahoo.com

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