The proposed development of new hangars and fuel supplies would occupy two parcels along Hartwell Road in Bedford. This slide was presented on February 20 during the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission Zoom meeting.

Updated Hanscom expansion plan reduces new hangars to 17 

By Anne O’Connor
February 21, 2024

An updated proposal for expanding hangar space at Hanscom Field shows a slightly scaled-back project as the plan moves through an environmental impact assessment process.  

Rather than adding 26 new hangars, the proposal now calls for 17, according to a presentation made to the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission Tuesday.  

The 17 buildings will have the same overall capacity, approximately 495,000 square feet, as the originally planned 26 or 27 buildings.  

As it now stands, the proposal would affect approximately three fewer acres of land and create around six acres less pervious surface than the initial plan presented at the start of 2023.  

Project proponents plan to hold a public information hearing on March 4 and launch a project website the following day. They did not provide the meeting location or web address during the Zoom presentation.  

Once the review is complete, the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Office will issue a Draft Environmental Impact Report, probably in May. The Federal Aviation Administration will then review the project.  

During the presentation, the proponent claimed the plan addresses current business needs and could decrease daily flights by around nine per day because fewer planes will have to be ferried offsite due to current limited hangar room. 

An illustration from Tuesday’s presentation
of what the future hangar setup might look like.

 The developers, North Airfield Ventures, filed an environmental notification form with MEPA in January 2023, kicking off the review process.  

A draft environmental impact report was expected in the fall.

The presentation at the February 20 Hanscom Field Advisory Committee meeting is the first time the developer’s reply to MEPA’s findings has seen daylight.  

North Airfield Ventures won the contract for the proposed development, which would affect up to 47 acres and include 27 new hangars, in June 2022, according to The Bedford Citizen.  

Over the past year, local activists and legislators have protested the expansion by filing an online petition and delivering it to the governor’s office, requesting public records, and sending letters to the governor.  

Opponents maintain the expansion would increase jet traffic and lead to more air pollution.  

Massport contends increased hangar space will mean planes can remain at Hanscom between flights rather than be ferried to other locations for storage, increasing carbon emissions along the way.  

The Massachusetts Port Authority governs the commercial activities at Hanscom Field. Military planes use the runways on occasion. Hanscom Air Force Base is not under state control.