WESTHAMPTON, NY — Francis S. Gabreski Airport is about to get even safer, thanks to federal funding secured for infrastructure improvements.
United States Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Lee Zeldin and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced this week that a $150,000 federal grant was awarded to the airport in Westhampton, home of the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard.
The grant, secured through the U.S. Department of Transportation, was provided to commence an "anti-obstruction project," at Gabreski — a four-phase effort to improve the safety of aircraft taking off and landing at the airport, a release said.
The grant will be used to implement the first phase of a project to remove obstructions that impact safety on runways 1/19, 6/24 and 15/33, and other approach and departure paths, the release said.
“Keeping our infrastructure in top-notch shape and maintaining safety on the runways at our airports is essential. This important federal investment will enable safer service for our service members at the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard and all pilots who fly in and out of Gabreski Airport," Schumer said.
“Investing in our airport infrastructure enables safer, more efficient service for the businesses, travelers, and service members from the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard who utilize it every day,” Gillibrand agreed.
And, added Zeldin, “The 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard plays a crucial role to protect our national security and New York's emergency response capabilities, which is why keeping Gabreski’s runways in great condition must be a top priority. This federal funding will allow the airport to begin an important project to improve the safety of aircraft utilizing the runway.”
Bellone said the infrastructure upgrades will enhance safety for Armed Forces and other emergency personnel at the airport, and applauded all the lawmakers involved.
Following the completion of Phase 1, an environmental assessment will be included in Phase 2, with a design phase and construction project to remove obstructions the next steps.