The Star-Gazette has a one-sided editorial about a new provision in some FAA legislation that would require the Elmira Airport to hire new firefighters. The airport's current firefighting and rescue staff does double duty. The new law would require the airport to have full-time firefighters, and perhaps hire as many as 30 of them.

The S-G characterizes this as hiring them to "sit around and be paid for an emergency." Well, yes, that's what firefighters do. But, more importantly, the S-G completely ignores the change in traffic in Elmira in the past year. Prior to last November, the airport was served by regional jets and turboprops, carrying 70 or fewer passengers. With the arrival of Allegiant Air, the airport now hosts full-sized jets carrying 130-150 people.

The S-G calls upon the Congressional delegation to do something about this, as if there's no debate to be had. I think there's a serious debate that needs to happen, and it centers around a real tradeoff between risk and cost savings.


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