The head of Philadelphia International Airport has briefed City Council about a new deal with Tinicum Township to expand the airport.
The compromise will save homes in Tinicum that were to be demolished under an earlier plan to build a runway. Airport CEO Mark Gale explained the new deal, worth an estimated $6.4 billion, will preserve the homes by buying township land to make space for the runway.
“We need to do it smartly, we need to do it at a pace that is consistent, so that the airport stays competitive all through the process,” Gale said. “But we do remain one of most congested and delayed airports in the country, and we need to address that.”
Extending the existing runway will help existing airlines and bring in new business, Gale said.
“That project was wholeheartedly embraced by the airlines last year, and we are moving forward with that,” he said.
Some airlines and freight companies contend the congested airspace between New York and Washington is more to blame for delays than a lack of runways.
The plan requires UPS to move its airport facility, which, in the past, the company has opposed.
The deal also will direct millions of dollars each year to Tinicum, Delaware County and the Interboro School District.
It still requires federal approval.