Let me see if I’ve got the story (August 17) about a possible expansion of the airport terminal straight.

Despite decreasing passenger traffic since 2000, a trend that has continued this year, Ann Richart, the new airport manager, states, in her grant application, that the present terminal is “maxed out?”

Despite the fact that half the annual passengers pass through the terminal from June through August and that it is a close approximation of a tomb for the rest of the year, we need to more than double its size?

Despite the fact that Ms. Richart’s proposal departs dramatically from the airport’s own master plan, we should abandon that template?

The theory driving the proposal seems to be “If we build it, they will come.” But why would we want that to happen? More airlines, more people. That only leads to more of the congestion that is with us, rippling way beyond the airport itself. I’m not opposed to development, but, hey, Ms. Richart, this is an Island. It is no longer a backwater, so to speak, awaiting development. Its ability to absorb ever more visitors is illusory.

Indeed, there is a congestion problem at the terminal during the summer. Seemingly, it results largely from the bunching of arrivals and departures by our three (very seasonal) jet carriers. I’ve been told by a person familiar with airport operations that MVY has no say in this, that schedules are entirely at an airline’s discretion. But we know this is not true at larger airports. Planes cannot take off unless there will be a gate available for them when they arrive along with its attendant services. Right, we don’t have physical gates here, we have virtual ones. But the concept is the same. What is needed is the application of some clear thinking and common sense by all concerned parties to the causes of the congestion, which is not to the advantage of the carriers either.

Manifestly, the problem is one of facilities management rather than one that should be solved by new, demonstrably unneeded additional terminal space. An enlarged terminal would also result in permanent additional operating expense, an important but often overlooked companion issue.

In sum, it is surprising that such a proposal could take even provisional wing when very clearly it will not fly.

Nicholas W. Puner

West Tisbury