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The original item was published from 12/16/2022 12:11:00 PM to 12/27/2022 3:00:03 PM.

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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: December 16, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Airport Advisory Board reflects on first year, looks ahead to 2023 projects

At monthly meeting, Board members also approve emissions study

PITKIN COUNTY, COLO. (Dec. 16, 2022) - Nearly one year ago, on January 20, 2022, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Advisory Board (AAB) met for the first time following a robust community engagement process. As a result of the ASE Vision process in 2019 and 2020, a set of top community priorities emerged for the airport: maximize safety, reduce airport pollution, bring down noise, and manage airline enplanements. 

The first step towards realizing the community vision for the airport’s future was creation of the AAB by the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The 12-member advisory board was appointed in January 2022 to carry out the community’s Common Ground Recommendations. The group is made up of engaged community members with vast experience and expertise from diverse backgrounds.

At its December 15 meeting, AAB members looked back on significant progress made in its first year. Over the course of 2022, the group: 

  • Elected a chair and vice-chair, developed its bylaws and added two new members 
  • Helped guide the initiation of the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) process, which is a graphical depiction of existing and future proposed airport conditions that is conditionally approved by the FAA and required to receive federal grant funding 
  • Provided input on a request for proposals (RFP) for a Fixed Based Operator (FBO) that will manage general (private/non-airline) operations at the airport 
  • Convened the first AAB retreat in August 2022 to focus on emissions and refine the group’s working agreements and more effectively incorporate community input
  • Reviewed and recommended a delivery method for design and construction of a new airport terminal
  • Formed its first subcommittee, the Flight Operations Safety Task Force, which aims to maximize safety and reduce aviation accidents and incidents at the airport and within local airspace 

These are only a few examples of the work the AAB has done since formation to realize the community’s Common Ground Recommendations. The group’s ongoing work will continue to inclusively incorporate public input and includes further development of the ALP, terminal design, FBO and greenhouse gas emissions efforts, to name a few. 

Greenhouse gas emissions baseline

Another accomplishment was the AAB’s unanimous approval Thursday of a Climate Emission Baseline and Inventory, which will be a crucial tool in measuring future progress in reducing emissions attributable to aviation and ground operations. The AAB’s approval is a recommendation that will now go to the BOCC for consideration at a future meeting.

“The commissioners charged the Airport Advisory Board with establishing the most accurate emissions baseline possible by using industry best practices and experts in the field. What we’re proposing does just that. It’s a measurement starting point that is essential for tracking our progress towards becoming the most greenhouse gas conscious airport we can be,” said Jacque Francis, AAB chair and executive director of the Global Warming Mitigation Project.

Francis, along with AAB member Rick Heede, who are both climate action professionals in their own right, collaborated with experts and helped spearhead the development of the emissions baseline on behalf of the board.

The baseline inventory of emissions includes airport owned or controlled sources; owned or controlled sources at the FBO, which is currently operated by Atlantic Aviation; aircraft fuel sales; and other sources of emissions such as rental car fuel consumption and emissions. The report also includes factors outside of the airport’s direct control but within the airport’s aspirations to influence as much as possible, such as emissions from aircraft operating at ASE.

Looking ahead

In 2023, the AAB looks forward to taking up a variety of projects including providing input on an Architectural Request for Proposals for the terminal design, continued work on the ALP, attending FBO finalists presentations, creating internal working groups around focus areas like maximizing safety, maximizing the environmental sustainability of the airport, and increasing seamless ground connectivity. The group will also aim to recommend policies to the BOCC around FlightOps safety, the Climate Emission Baseline and Inventory, as well as policies related to local emissions and noise, and hold a retreat in January to kick off the 2023 work.

The Board has its eye on incorporating green initiatives at the airport. The new terminal, for example, will be a carbon neutral facility and include charging stations for electric rental vehicles and electric aircraft once they become available. These efforts, among others, are top-of-mind for the board as it works to carry out the community’s goals to reduce emissions at the airport.

The Airport Advisory Board, which acts as an advisory board only, meets every third Thursday of the month. Find recordings of previous meetings here.

Voting Members:
Jacque Francis (Chair), 
Meg Haynes (Vice Chair)
Bruce Gordon
Auden Schendler
Rick Heede
Valerie Braun
Howie Mallory

Mike Solondz
Barry Vaughan

EX Officio:
Clint Kinney
Sara Ott
Catherine Christoff

The Board’s meetings are hybrid, held online and in-person, and open to the public.

Media contact: Marci Suazo, Pitkin County communications manager,; (970) 309-2343

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