Opponents of Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to build a waste transfer station near LaGuardia Airport are charging it could be a Bronx plane crash in the making.
And they’ve got Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who almost did crash, on their side.
Opponents fear no matter how many precautions are taken, the transfer station less than a half mile from the busy airport will draw birds that could be sucked into plane engines – as happened with U.S. Airways Flight 1549 which managed to land safely in the Hudson River.
Sullenberger has called on Gov. Cuomo to block permits for the waste station’s opening next year.
The hero pilot would likely have crashed in the Bronx if his craft had taken off from Runway 31, which carries flights directly over the borough, said Charles Hannon Jr. , an air traffic control supervisor with over 30 years experience.
“We fan out the departures, but regardless of where they come from, they’re over the Bronx,” he said. “Right now, what we have at LaGuardia is called ‘controlled chaos,’ believe it or not.”
“We’re looking at it logically, “ said Hannon, “and the city, somehow they’re looking at it another way.”
Bloomberg believes the garbage transfer stations – equally spread around the boroughs – are the fairest and most environmentally sound way to get ride of the city’s 10,000 tons of daily household waste.
The city insists the Queens transfer station, the garbage trucks and barges will be safely sealed to avoid attracting seagulls and other scavenging birds.
A panel of federal and state experts found in 2010 that the North Shore Marine Transfer Station “is not inherently in conflict with safe operations at LaGuardia Airport” – but it would require a number of “bird-mitigation and deterrent efforts” such as anti-perching and ultrasound bird-alarm devices.
But local Councilman Jimmy Vacca, much of whose district has planes overhead, said “Never say never.”
“I think we need to be reassured these devices will prevent these birds from causing a disaster.”