Pa. Airport Plan Greatly Clouded by Suspicions

In an attempt to remove one obstacle from the Doylestown Airport's runway, the Bucks County Airport Authority may have created a bigger one.

"We've never had an accident there, and we want to act promptly so we never do," he said.

Because the FAA standards came after the airport opened in 1957, they have not been imposed. But airports are expected to comply "where practical," Peters said, when seeking federal funds for improvements, as Doylestown is.

Immediate plans call for closing Stony Lane and installing a drainage system. Long-range plans include the runway extension, a new airport terminal and additional hangars.

With no tower, there is no accurate record of flights at the airport. But the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission estimates that 40,000 take-offs and landings occurred annually from the late 1980s through most of the 1990s. Operations peaked at more than 50,000 in 1999, but have dropped to about 43,000.

No matter how long the runway, Rockmaker said he doesn't see Doylestown becoming a magnet for large aircraft. Not with full-service airports like Lehigh Valley and Trenton-Mercer nearby.

While residents fear that a longer runway will bring more planes, the authority maintains it won't.

"The planners tell us that the amount of traffic at airports will be driven by the state of the economy and population growth or shrinkage," Black said. "The length of the runway isn't going to affect that."

The Bucks County Airport Authority will hold a public meeting on plans to expand Doylestown Airport at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cold Spring Elementary School, 4150 Durham Rd., Doylestown.

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