To the editor:
I know that funding to operate the Town of Madawaska is a challenge, but it is troubling that the town council is thinking of reneging on their contractual obligation agreement with the towns of St. Agatha, Frenchville, Fort Kent and St. John. The agreement was to share costs of funding for the operation of the Northern Aroostook Regional Airport (NARA).
This comes at a time when the airport has seen an improvement in aircraft activity over the past few years. Pattison Signs are now using the Frenchville Airport on a regular basis (three visits last week), which makes for a good improvement on fuel sales.
The St. John Valley Aero Club was organized three years. This has also improved activity at the airport. Students have taken flying lessons and have gotten their license.
We also have three additional planes based at this airport since last summer.
Life Flight is also a big part of airport business. The helicopters have to be refueled by airport personnel once they touch down at Northern Maine Medical Center. Life-Flight is planning to add a fixed wing airplane to their fleet for flights to Portland and Boston. The helicopters cannot achieve this without stopping for fuel. A fixed wing airplane would require them to use the Frenchville Airport for expanded service to our area. This aircraft could operate under more adverse weather conditions. The airport is also a great asset to the Angel Flight Network. The airport needs funding to be able to provide jet fuel for these emergency flights. They would not be able to make the return trip to Bangor without stopping for fuel. This loss of time could jeopardize a patient on board that needs acute care.
In our upcoming events, the Aero Club is working on an air show that will provide an exciting weekend never experienced in the St. John Valley. This show is scheduled for August 18-19.
I hope that Madawaska's share of funding is approved in order to maintain the airport at its present level.Roger Lavertu Madawaska, MEAero Club Member