On February 16th, 2022, Tweed Airport on the East Haven - New Haven Border made a deal with Avelo Airlines and may have a property expansion, causing an uproar from residents of East Haven and surrounding towns.Tweed, located in the Morris Cove area of East and New Haven, is a small airport that opened in August of 1931. Up until recently, the flights out of Tweed were mostly private flights, aspiring pilots, and small cargo planes. Any commercial flights were connector flights to airports in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. These planes were small, holding approximately 19 to 35 people. However, with the introduction of Avelo’s Boeing 737-700 jets, which hold anywhere from 108 to 215 passengers and use gallons upon gallons of fuel, residents in East Haven and neighboring towns are beginning to speak out about their concerns.
Eminent domain (governmental taking of private land), environmental damage to the local wetlands, noise pollution, and constant flight patterns are some of the main concerns brought up by people like Jean Edwards-Chieppo. Jean, an advocate for stopping the Tweed Expansion, has helped to promote Facebook’s “Keep Tweed Small” and 10,000 Hawks groups, educating people on the happenings at Tweed. She, along with other group members, are concerned about the environmental effect the jet fuel fumes are having on the residents and wildlife. She claims: “Studies have found that people living near an airport can experience a higher rate of respiratory problems due to elevated airplane emissions that contain hazardous contaminants. Recent studies have found that living near an airport could be hazardous to your health.” In addition to health issues, residents who live within a 3-4 mile radius of the airport have noticed an increase in wildlife moving into residential areas, rattling windows and walls, as well as a decline in the local wetlands. Local resident Joelle Marie stated, “[It’s] too loud, too low, our walls are cracking, the smell of fuel is awful! It wasn’t like this before these big 737s. The little planes were fine. It’s all changed now.”
East Haven residents who live close to Tweed are also upset about the possibility of the airport expanding in terms of property. East Haven resident and EHHS Alumni Krystal Luna lives only a few streets away from the airport. Since the addition of Avelo, she has noticed an increase in the number of planes passing through at a low distance, including a cargo plane that was extremely close to her house. She expressed, “My family is concerned about how this expansion will impact our house. We just moved to this house two years ago and we finally have settled into a place we can call our own. If the expansion moves forward and they expand property lines, we possibly will have to consider moving again.” In terms of expansion and future plans, Tweed chose not to answer. People have seen large amounts of construction at Robinson Aviation, another small airport for student pilots located in East Haven. This raises the question of what truly is going on at Tweed and what will happen going forward.
Tuesday, June 7th 2022, a meeting was held at East Haven’s Hagaman Memorial Library from 6:30-8:00 pm to write environmental assessment letters to elected officials. In terms of getting involved, there are a number of ways residents can help to combat the expansion. East Haven Resident Lorena Venegas said in terms of involvement, “We need town youth to help us out this summer. Conservation of greenspaces and wetlands, flooding mitigation, and stormwater management are critical topics that need solutions in the next 10 years as climate change exacerbates and sea level issues rise here.” If you are interested in the expansion, reach out to these groups to find out more about what’s really going on at Tweed.