Fast Five: Bizav’s Contribution To Airport Operations

HPN General Manager April Gasparri
L-r, HPN General Manager April Gasparri, Christopher Quail of the noise abatement office and Sandra Mahonski of Westchester County Tourism and Film at the NBAA White Plains Regional Forum.
Credit: Bill Carey

Airport management firm Avports appointed April Gasparri as general manager of Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, New York in January 2022. A veteran U.S. Army officer and helicopter pilot, she previously served as senior vice president of operations and maintenance at Pittsburgh International Airport.

BCA spoke with Gasparri during the NBAA White Plains Regional Forum, which returned to HPN on June 22; the event was canceled following the 2019 gathering because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The county-owned airport north of New York City is served by six scheduled airlines, charter operators Wings Air and Tradewind Aviation and FBOs Atlantic Aviation, Signature Flight Support and Million Air.
HPN handled 142,336 total aircraft operations in 2021, of which 89,346 (63%) were business aviation operations. The airport maintains a noise abatement program, including a Voluntary Restraint From Flying period in effect each day from midnight to 6 a.m.

What is the importance of business aviation to Westchester County Airport?
It’s propelling the industry, but closer to home many of these industries are headquartered right here in Westchester County or they’re 30 mi. down the road in New York City. I think it helps everyone’s quality of life that they can live and work close by and conduct their business within the [reach] of one flight.

What has been the trend in business aviation operations emerging from the pandemic?
Business aviation never took a downturn. We saw a steady uptick for business [operations] alone. Light general aviation took a little downswing but has been on the rise and is steady as well. It’s really only been the commercial Part 21 [operations] that were really devastated. 

Does the airport have 100LL avgas available?
That’s part of a working group we initiated. We know that UL94 avgas is an option for some people, but 100 unleaded is where we want to get to and where the county can be postured to be the first mover. [We’re studying] where the best location is to have that because all of the light general aviation aircraft operate on the west side [of the airport] but our fuel farm is on the east side. We’re going through those design discussions.

When do you expect to be able to supply sustainable aviation fuel?
We’re probably a year out. Because of the supply chain bottlenecks, we have a different project that needs a tank and a water separator. That lead time is 12-18 weeks, so we’re not at a point yet where we have put in an order for a tank to support sustainable aviation fuel. We still need to propose and gain approval from the Westchester County Board of Legislators so that wouldn’t be until sometime next year.

Do you expect to someday host electric advanced air mobility vehicles? 
We facilitate what our tenants and the FBOs do, and their operators. It’s up to them to make that business decision and business case. What we are doing is our county leadership has rebooted our [airport] master plan and we just completed three public sessions. To be able to eventually house and accommodate that electric infrastructure is something we are considering. We’re just at the beginning of that process right now.

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.