San Jose, California’s Reid-Hillview Airport (KRHV) is, once again, in the news — for all the wrong reasons.
On second thought, has it ever not been in the news?
On a search for an unrelated story among our decades of archives, I happened upon a June 1990 edition of General Aviation News & Flyer (as it was then called). It was mailed on Friday, June 22, 1990.
Look at the top headline: Reid-Hillview Airport may close.
The story starts by reporting, “The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors is acting to close the San Jose (CA) Reid-Hillview Airport in answer to complaints from neighborhood action groups.”
Wow, does that ever sound familiar.
Steve Remington, an operator at the airport at that time, stated, “There are groups in the area that are pressing for the closing for ‘safety’ reasons. The city and county are powerless to solve the real social problems of the area – drugs and crime – so they throw up a smoke screen.”
“Neither the city nor county want to say ‘this airport must stay.’ Instead they will say, ‘we tried to close it but the FAA overruled us.’”
I wonder if the neighborhood action groups were complaining about leaded fuel.
Makes me think, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
If you can’t read the images, below is the text of the article.
Reid-Hillview Airport may close
Politicos caving in to pressure groups?
By Jay Wright
SAN JOSE, CA – The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors is acting to close the San Jose (CA) Reid-Hillview Airport in answer to complaints from neighborhood groups.
Debra Wetter, spokesperson for the Santa Clara Department of Transportation, said, “Actually the board voted on a declaration to close the airport. What this does is to set the staff in motion to search out the issues so they may be resolved before it goes to the board for a final vote.”
Wetter could not estimate when the matter would be presented to the board.
“The board is encouraging us to act quickly and the County Council is working hard to resolve the problems.” Wetter added that there is nothing explicit in any of the federal contracts or grants that spell out how many years the airport must remain open.
Steve Remington, an operator at the airport, believes that the proposed closing may be a political move.
“There are groups in the area that are pressing for the closing for ‘safety’ reasons,” Remington said. “The city and county are powerless to solve the real social problems of the area – drugs and crime – so they throw up a smoke screen.
“Neither the city nor county want to say ‘this airport must close.’ Instead they will say, we tried to close it but the FAA overruled us.’”
Reid-Hillview was established in 1939 as a private airport. In 1962 it was purchased by Santa Clara County. In later years it was annexed by the City of San Jose but it remains under county administration.
There have been 6 million flight operations since the county took over. There were 200,039 in 1989. At present there are 10 FBOs and 533 aircraft based at Reid-Hillview.
At the time the airport was purchased by the county the area was surrounded by farm land. Since that time the city has grown up around it and there is a large shopping mall 1,300 feet from the south threshold of the dual runways. There have been some off-airport accidents in recent years, but no one on the ground has ever been injured or killed.
San Jose International Airport, recently selected as a hub by American Airlines, lies six miles to the northwest of Reid-Hillview. The traffic patterns do not overlap and Reid-Hillview is the reliever airport of choice.
American Airlines, which says it plans to invest about $100 million in its base, was reportedly promised that Reid-Hillview would remain open as a reliever airport.
The Reid-Hillview Pilots Association announced it plans legal action to keep the airport open and is asking pilots in the area for donations for legal fees. And John L. Baker, president of the 300,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, pledged his organization’s support.
“We are extremely concerned by recent action taken by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to close Reid-Hillview Airport,” Baker is quoted in a written statement.
“Such drastic action by the county shows a deplorable lack of understanding of how important Reid-Hillview Aiport is to the county and the city of San Jose and ignores the national ramifications that such action could bring.”