July 2018

272 273 THE KNOX COUNTY REGIONAL AIRPORT over 5,400 feet. The significance of that is aircraft landing here, previously, couldn’t actually put on enough fuel to go wherever they wanted to go, like Europe or California or Florida or the Ca- ribbean. So they would end up taking off out of here with very little fuel and flying to somewhere close, Bangor, sometimes Portland, and putting on most of their fuel there. So, adding that 400 feet allows most aircraft traveling long distances to reach their destination with a full load of fuel.” Northgraves believes that the nearby airports don’t really provide competition for Knox County Regional where general aviation, transient flights, or anything else is concerned. He points to the 83 aircraft that are hangared there as evidence of the Airport’s robust GA traffic, which is augmented by its status as a “destination airport.” “People come here and then get on a ferry to go elsewhere in the state for tourist things,” he explains. “We’ve also got quite a few summer homes along the coast where folks fly in to spend their time. So, for the most part, the only real competition is when, occasionally, fuel costs might get out of whack. So some- body might fly in here and put on a little bit of fuel and then make a quick stop somewhere else to put on a large amount. We’ve got a single FBO here and they do a pretty good job of monitoring that and staying competitive.” Northgraves describes Knox County Regional as being “kind of unique” among its small airport brethren because it integrates robust General Aviation with a solid commercial component that includes more than just Cape Air and its scheduled flights to Boston. “We’ve also got an air taxi operation (Penobscot Island Air) that primarily supports the islands off the coast - remote destinations,” he notes. “People rely on those flights to and from, for grocery shopping and for medical emergencies because, frequently, the ferry is not going to get them to and from the island in a timely manner. I think that’s really the strong point of this Airport.” With a lot of comings and goings, Northgraves understands that the Airport has a responsibility to respect the wishes of the local community “And we’ve been able to make the folks who don’t want airplanes flying over their heads 24-7, part of the Airport process, and to be able to accommodate the John Tra-