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CHAPTER 3 Projecting Potential Future Activity from New Generation Aircraft 3.1 Introduction The prospect of new generation aircraft, particularly VLJs, may seem appealing and inviting to many small GA airport operators in the United States, particularly those who have not yet attracted any significant jet activity. Certainly, specific airport requirements such as a long enough runway and various other infrastructure necessities would be needed to attract such activity. Many of these airport requirements are discussed in detail in Chapters 4 and 5. However, the "build it and they will come" theory cannot be used without considering other factors that Key Questions to Consider Before influence how and where new generation GA aircraft Assessing Airport Capabilities may operate. Airport operators should assess basic questions about the potential for increased activity Local Business Attraction--Are local businesses before spending significant time and resources on in the area that would make significant use of improving or upgrading airport facilities. the airport if it could accommodate VLJs or other new generation GA aircraft? What is the poten- Although in many cases airport facilities are on the tial for new businesses to locate in the area or to list of issues that businesses may consider, such facilities conduct business in the area? may not be as far up the list as many airport operators may believe. Depending on the business in question, Vacation/Leisure Attraction--Is the airport near attributes such as household income, population, edu- an important vacation or leisure destination that cation, the quality of public schools, and the local road would become more attractive if the airport network may be of equal or higher importance than the could accommodate new generation aircraft? location or capabilities of the local GA airport. Personal Flying--What is the potential for per- At the same time, understanding the current use of an sonal GA transportation use by high-income airport will assist in identifying needs for specific actions residents in the area? to accommodate new generation aircraft. If existing facilities already accommodate a significant number of operations by light jets (e.g., Cessna CJ series, Hawker Beechcraft Premier) or larger, then the airport may already be sufficiently attractive to business oper- ations. On the other hand, if operations at the airport primarily consist of piston and/or turboprop activity related to personal or private aviation, then the question becomes whether the lack of jet activity is due to a lack of airport facilities or a lack of demand for access. The combination of facil- ities, demographics, and personal and business demand are information an airport operator should consider in order to assess how new operations (perhaps including commercial air taxi operations) may be attracted to the area. In many cases, airports that already have significant business aviation activity may not need to make much additional effort to attract new generation aircraft being used for business purposes. At airports that have facilities conducive to business aircraft but do not have business aircraft traf- 16