Nearly half of private flights from Hanscom last less than an hour, study shows

A taxiway at Hanscom Field. (David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
A taxiway at Hanscom Field. (David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Two-fifths of private jets departing Hanscom Field had flights lasting less than an hour, according to a new report on the environmental impact of the Bedford airfield. The study comes as officials mull expanding the regional airport.

The study, issued by the social justice-focused nonprofit Institute for Policy Studies, analyzed 18 months of data from the airfield. Over that time, private jets accounted for an estimated 106,676 tons of carbon emissions. The report found that an estimated 41% of departures had a flight duration less than an hour long.

Runway Realty Ventures, LLC and North Airfield Ventures, LLC have submitted a proposal to the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airfield, to expand Hanscom airport to include 27 new jet hangars. State Sen. Michael Barrett said he's worried the expansion would encourage the use of more private jets and increase the negative impacts the industry has on the environment.

“The implications for the climate are so serious and so one-sided and so disproportionately huge that you really can't justify using such a means of transportation anymore,” Barrett said.

MassPort said in an email the expansion responds to existing demand and would not negate the agency's commitment to the environment.

An IPS report from earlier this year found that private jets “emit at least 10 times more pollutants than commercial planes per passenger.”

Barrett said private plane use is among “the most destructive forms of aviation” and that to help curb the harms caused by the industry, people should try to fly less and “the super rich need to travel in our company, if they are going to continue using aviation.”

When it comes to the Hanscom expansion, Barrett said “the immediate ask is that the Massport Board of directors just says no. No to the contracts. No to the proposal. No to the 27 hangars."

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Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez Transportation Reporter
Andrea Perdomo-Hernandez is a transportation reporter for WBUR.



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