The city of Philadelphia has reached an agreement with Tinicum Township to lease about 22 acres for a safety area next to Philadelphia International Airport Runway 9R.
The 10,500-foot runway is the longest of the airport's four and handles commercial jetliners.
The agreement, signed last week, provides for a 10-year lease with the option to renew for an additional 10 years. The annual cost will be $85,000, paid from the airport aviation fund. Airline landing fees and parking garage revenues contribute to that fund.
The airport had safety areas for its other runways but had difficulty finding appropriate space for Runway 9R. As it is, work will have to be done on the newly acquired land for it to meet federal guidelines, airport spokesman Mark Pesce said.
Federal Aviation Administration regulations require airports to provide a safety area for each runway and taxiway. The space must be flat, at least 1,000 feet long by 500 feet wide, and able to handle aircraft, emergency, and snow-removal equipment.
"There have been recent incidents at other airports in which planes overshot runways, resulting in personal injury and extensive property damage," Charles J. Isdell, the city's director of aviation, said in a statement. "The extension of the runway safety area will help us to avoid that type of incident in Philadelphia."
The lease agreement is a marked change from what has been a contentious relationship between the city and Tinicum residents over airport plans to expand runways in order to reduce takeoff and landing delays. About two-thirds of the city-owned 2,000-acre airport is in Tinicum.
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