After a dismal summer for commercial traffic, the Martha’s Vineyard Airport saw a slight rebound in September, director Geoff Freeman told airport commissioners at their meeting Thursday.
Mr. Freeman said activity at the air traffic control tower was down 19 per cent over last September, which was one of the busiest Septembers on record for the airport. Control tower numbers for September this year are ahead of 2018 and 2017, he said.
But overall, commercial airline activity remains down, reflecting the trend seen around the country, Mr. Freeman said. He also said Cape Air, the only year-round commercial carrier to the Vineyard, is starting to see more traffic and carried 881 passengers in September, the most of any month so far this year.
Summer carrier JetBlue’s last flight from the Vineyard will be Oct. 12, Mr. Freeman reported.
In other business Thursday, the commissioners unanimously approved a no-fee land lease agreement with JJ Motocross Park off West Line Road in the business park. Jermaine (JJ) Mendez originally opened the dirt bike track in 2012 after a previous track at Nip N’ Tuck farm was closed due to noise complaints from neighbors. The track has been closed this year, was but will be allowed to reopen with the new lease.
Airport commissioner Geoff Wheeler said the land-use subcommittee agreed on a month-to-month lease with no fee because the track is “a temporary operation for community benefit.” Mr. Freeman said he had cleared the lease with the Federal Aviation Administration.
Other lease agreements approved for tenants in the business park were for True North Holdings, Black Sheep Mercantile, Vineyard Tennis Center and Osprey Trade.
At the start of the meeting, commission chairman Robert Rosenbaum spoke about Adam Friedman, a former operations manager at the airport who died late last month.
“His loss has been felt deeply by everyone at the airport, particularly his colleagues with whom he has worked with for many years,” Mr. Rosenbaum said. “I’ve known Adam for 20 years since I started flying here. Adam had a crusty exterior facade but a good heart. He never hesitated to stand up and speak out when he saw something that was wrong.” He continued:
“His death should be a wakeup call for all of us. During these times now where we’re all so isolated it is easy to start feeling depressed and like no one cares about us. It’s also much more difficult for us to see that happening to our friends. It is vitally important that we take an extra effort to stay in contact with our friends. Should we ourselves start feeling depressed, please reach out and talk to somebody — friends, family and various resources at Community Services and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital are here to help.”