Maine’s Biddeford Municipal Airport in danger

A ballot referendum in Maine could spell the end of one community’s airport, if the vote goes against it.

Opponents of the November 4th referendum to close Biddeford Municipal Airport have started an aggressive information campaign to help city voters understand the airport’s importance, according to Alan Lyscars, a member of the Friends of Biddeford Airport.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has joined the FOBA team to urge a “no” vote against the referendum, which asks Biddeford residents to spend at least $3-million to close the airport.

“Given the current economy, and realizing the many other priorities the community faces, spending tax money to close the airport just doesn’t make good sense,” Lyscars said.

According to Lyscars, a television ad starting the week of Oct. 13 will be followed by informational mailings to city voters, all emphasizing the value of the airport. With a common theme of “Keep Biddeford Flying,” FOBA and AOPA members also are coordinating a yard sign campaign, a neighbor-to-neighbor effort, and newspaper ads as part of their get-out-the-vote campaign.

“The goal is simple: To make sure everyone better understands how vital this airport is to the community,” Lyscars said. “We’re also excited to have AOPA involved. They know better than most the critical role small general aviation airports play in the bigger picture of our nation’s transportation system.” Issues like this aren’t just local, he pointed out. They have national impacts.

Bill Dunn, AOPA’s vice president for local airport advocacy, said his organization’s members have a vested interest in lending support to Biddeford area members.

“We have 2,100 members across Maine and approximately 415,000 nationwide, all sharing a desire to keep small airports such as Biddeford Municipal in business,” Dunn said. “Educating others about the importance of the airport to their community is an essential part of our local advocacy efforts.”

Dunn commented that the Maine Department of Transportation estimates the airport contributes more than $3.5 million each year to the local economy.

“In our conservations with the FAA, that agency also has made it clear that it is opposed to closing the airport, and they’ve told the city that, as well,” Dunn said.

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