Inside Troubled expansion new SW terminal at LI MacArthur Airport

Discussion in 'Southwest Airlines/Airtran Airways' started by Diamondbacks2004, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. Diamondbacks2004

    Diamondbacks2004 Advanced

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    http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisla...inews-headlines

    http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-vpa...rials-headlines

    BY SANDRA PEDDIE
    Newsday Investigations Team

    June 21, 2006

    Investigators have found serious fire hazards in the new Southwest Airlines terminal at MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, Newsday has learned.

    The hazards are so significant that they could cause an explosion or allow dangerous natural gas to be drawn into the terminal, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

    Spota said he thought immediate action should be taken to address the hazards. Town and airline officials would not respond last night as to the status of the building.

    Investigators from the District Attorney's governmental corruption bureau, which has been looking into expansion projects at the airport, conducted an inspection of the terminal Monday night along with a fire-safety expert, whom they would not identify. Town officials accompanied them.

    "We have been conducting an active investigation into the fire-safety issues in the building," Spota said. "We have uncovered significant problems and notified the town."

    Islip Town Attorney Pierce Cohalan said last night the town was aware of problems in the terminal. In a statement, he said: "The Town of Islip and Southwest Airlines have a mutual interest in assuring that our new facility is safe and fully operational. In light of these recent issues, the Town of Islip has contacted Southwest Airlines and requested their cooperation, and that cooperation has been assured. We will fully investigate these facts; and if it is determined that there are issues that require remediation, we will respond in an appropriate manner."

    In an interview yesterday, Spota said sprinklers, rather than a chemical fire-suppression system, had been installed in the terminal's main electrical control room, which controls all power in the building. That is a problem because water could cause electricity to arc, sparking an explosion, Spota said.

    State fire code allows sprinklers in a room with electrical panels, but stipulates that the spray be directed away from the panels. In the MacArthur control room, they are located directly above the electrical panels, according to a town official who asked not to be identified.

    Outside the Southwest terminal, natural gas pipes are located right underneath air conditioning intake manifolds, according to a former town employee. If there were a gas leak, natural gas could get pulled into the new terminal's main ventilation system.

    Investigators found during their inspection Monday that sprinklers above the main entrance to the airport had been disconnected. Fire-safety sources said they had not been properly insulated and froze in the winter.

    There are also concerns about the fire-suppression systems in the airport's eateries. No fire inspections have been conducted at one airport restaurant in the new terminal for two years, Spota said. Under state law, annual inspections are required.

    On May 2, Newsday requested all fire-safety documents under the Freedom of Information Law, but the town thus far has not released them.

    The airport, which is owned and operated by Islip Town, has been undergoing an $82-million expansion to create eight gates for Dallas-based Southwest Airlines. Four gates in a new terminal building opened in August 2004, and four additional gates were to open next month.

    Last night, Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said in a statement that the airline would conduct its own review of the problems.

    "Following a comprehensive review and in consultation with appropriate public officials, all necessary measures, to the extent that any are required, will be taken to ensure that all issues are resolved satisfactorily."
     
  2. Flying Titan

    Flying Titan Veteran

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    US Sen Schumer Calls For Federal Probe Of Airport Spending

    DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
    June 26, 2006 11:44 a.m.


    RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (AP)--Federal authorities should investigate the reported misallocation of at least $65 million in federal grants to expand the Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV) terminal at Long Island MacArthur Airport, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

    "Tens of millions of dollars are being wasted, and we need to find out why this occurred," Schumer told Newsday in Monday's editions. "If there was ever a time for federal investigation, it's right now."

    The senator said he sent a letter to the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, requesting an investigation to determine whether the money was being spent properly.

    Newsday, citing federal, state and Islip town records, has reported that $65.2 million in public money was spent to fund the expansion since 2000, despite promises to local taxpayers that they wouldn't pay a cent. The bulk of the federal funds were spent on roadway and terminal improvements at the airport, the newspaper said.

    The deals were largely brokered by former Islip Town Supervisor Peter McGowan, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to stealing campaign money and taking campaign kickbacks in deals unrelated to the airport. The terminal concourse at MacArthur was named after McGowan, but the Islip Town Board voted to remove his name from the facility following the guilty plea. McGowan is currently serving a 90-day term in the Suffolk County Jail.
     
  3. ngneer

    ngneer Advanced

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    I don't know why this is being reported now like this is a surprise. At the time the expansion was announced, Pete McGowan said that a federal grant was going to pay for the parking lot and roadway expansions. It was also reported in the media (I don't remember who was the source) that Southwest was going to see what, if any, federal funding they might qualify for in building the terminal. What McGowan said was that no Islip Town tax money would be used to fund the airport expansion and it appears that none was. Newsday got this wrong - gee, what a surprise.

    I think the real story here is who did the construction, how they got the contract and how the new terminal got a Certificate of Occupancy when there are apparently so many problems.
     
  4. Diamondbacks2004

    Diamondbacks2004 Advanced

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    Aviation Capital Management ???? maybe? :unsure:

    http://www.aviationcapitalmanagement.com/progress-isp.htm
     
  5. ngneer

    ngneer Advanced

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    Islip engineer pleads guilty in airport hazards
    BY SANDRA PEDDIE AND EDEN LAIKIN
    Newsday Investigations Team

    August 2, 2006

    In two rapid-fire developments yesterday in the MacArthur Airport scandal, Islip's town engineer pleaded guilty to criminal charges for allowing a restaurant to open in violation of state fire-safety codes and town officials ordered it closed.

    In the Suffolk County district attorney's office's first arrest in its probe of construction and financial irregularities at the airport, Steven Rizzo, 52, of Islip Terrace, pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, official misconduct and offering a false instrument for filing -- two misdemeanors and a felony.

    Full story

    Note: This restaurant isn't in the Southwest wing, but this is only one of many problems at ISP.
     
  6. ramper_in_las

    ramper_in_las Senior

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    ultimately it all falls back on local government when the inspectors passed each phase of construction.
     
  7. ngneer

    ngneer Advanced

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    Safety issues delay second MacArthur concourse
    BY SANDRA PEDDIE
    Newsday Investigations Team

    September 6, 2006, 9:31 PM EDT

    The opening of Southwest Airlines' second concourse at MacArthur Airport, originally scheduled for July this year, has been delayed indefinitely because of fire and other safety deficiencies, Islip town and airline officials confirmed Wednesday.

    They also revealed previously undisclosed design and construction problems in the first Southwest concourse, which has been in operation since 2004. These include the number and location of exits, type of fire insulation and number of toilets.

    Full story
     
  8. ngneer

    ngneer Advanced

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    Getting Off the Ground: Amid Investigations and After Needed Fixes, Southwest Ready to Open New Concourse at MacArthur Airport
    Source: Newsday, Melville, N.Y.
    Publication date: 2006-11-15

    By Sandra Peddie, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.

    Nov. 15--Southwest Airlines plans to open its second concourse at Long Island MacArthur Airport as early as Friday, after correcting safety hazards and persuading state overseers to ease some fire code requirements.

    Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger said the company was "thrilled" by the opening, but that no new flights would be added immediately. Instead, it will allow Southwest to transfer its current operations to the new concourse while repair work begins on the cracked apron, the area where planes pull up to the terminal.
     

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