Sample Article Review on ‘The Conversion of Military Bases to Commercial Airports’ by Julie Cidell’s

Airport planning and management

An airport is basically a field that incorporates sundry of activities and facilities that enable taking off and landing of flights. Airline network is an important mode of transport that is used to move people and goods from one point to the other. Airports are constructed or developed through various ways in order to come up with a complete airfield. In regard to this, Julie Cidell’s article The Conversion of Military Bases to Commercial Airports: Existing Conversions and Future Possibilities highlight one of the ways employed in developing an airport. This article delves deep into commercializing of airports from the previously airbases that were controlled by the military. More importantly, the author outlines two important aspects that aids in changing military bases into civilian airports. They included local advantage to attract certain kinds of air services, and political cooperation at local, state, and national levels.
According to Cidell, 37 Air Force Bases, Army Air Fields, and Naval Air Stations were converted to civilian airports in accordance to the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1988 (BRAC) (. Pitfield, 1981). The main question that arises is whether the closure and conversion of these bases was necessary bearing in mind they were still useful to the military. The article comes out strongly to state that there is relationship elicited between transportation and economic development. Traditionally, aero planes were not popular mode of transport. However, cities and towns that were connected via rail roads and sea port were much developed as compared with cities with poor transport network. Since aircrafts could be able to join many cities within and outside the U.S.A borders, then they were best placed in attracting development. Pitfield (1981) felt that Atlanta, Kansas City and Dallas attracted immense economic development due to the improved air service and they did not have an airport in the environs; therefore, turning a military base into a commercial airport could help in yielding more development.
It is quite clear that during the late 20th century; the world shifted its focus on integration and conducting activities globally, globalization. This means that goods can be produced in one corner of the world and be used as a raw material in the other. As a matter of fact, the mode of transport plays a major role in conveying such goods internationally and aircrafts are better positioned as they are faster and efficient. U.S.A discovered that constructing new commercial airports would cost much rather than conversing existing small bases. Cidell (2003) cites another reason of conversion was that the bases were already identified as better places to locate airfield and there were already existing skilled labor. Similarly, military action was facing a downward trend after the end of the world war and the need for these bases was dwindling. The technology used in those days could not fit the revamped current transportation network. For example, strategic command bases were meant to identify bombers in attack from a distance and were located in isolated sites. Commercial airports are also important to the government as they aid in earning revenue.
Cidell (2003) also points out the challenges that were identified when transforming the military bases into commercial airports. One of the main challenge included locating local communities in order to create space for the newly formed aerodrome. Metropolitan areas were also encroached and finding land for expansion was a major challenge. The article also identifies the attitude elicited by the political front as another major drawback to the conversion. This meant there were constant fights between the government and the local residents who were incited by politicians (Mayo, 2008). There were some issues that arose in commercial flights that were not experienced in the bases; for instance, handling people and cargo in the same plane. As a result, there was an introduction of all-cargo airport that handled only cargo flights.
Cidell’s article gives an insight on the process of coming up with commercial airports. Firstly, it elaborates on the importance of commercialized flights which include trade and development. In the current world, these are two main factors that drive the economy and aid in improving the standard of living. The article also highlights the relationship between the American communities and military installations. Mayo (2008) argues that the closure of England Air force Base (AFB) was met with resistance from the central Louisiana community fuelled by the elected officials and elite groups in the society. This argument complies with Cidell’s that high profiled people collaborated in ensuring the downfall of these conversions mainly for their individual interests. One thing to note is that Cidell uses current sources as the article was authored in 2003 and most of the in text citations range from 1991 to 2000. The article is well constructed in a chronological manner as it begins with explaining the reason for converting military bases to commercial bases, to outlining the process of this conversion. It also provides case studies to support the thesis; therefore, it is a credible article with a professional reasoning.

Cidell, J. (2003). The conversion of military bases to commercial airports: existing conversions and future possibilities. Journal of Transport Geography 11 (2003) 93–102
Mayo, Phyllis E.,(2008). “Military Base Closure and Community Transformation: The Case of England Air Force Base in Central Louisiana”. University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations.Paper 898.
Pitfield, D.E., 1981. The economics of airport impact.Transportation Planning and Technology 7, 21–31.