Contra Costa (California) can't close Buchanan Field, says AOPA

November 12, 2003

AOPA will once again make sure that Contra Costa County clearly understands that closing Buchanan Field in Concord, California, is not an option. AOPA's vice president of Airports, Bill Dunn, will meet today with FAA officials in Washington to ask them tell the county, in writing, that the airport cannot be redeveloped.

AOPA had told the county in August that the FAA would prohibit closing the airport and that AOPA would fight redevelopment plans every step of the way.

Nevertheless, county supervisors voted last night to seek proposals for alternative uses for the San Francisco Bay-area airport.

"Two things will stop them from closing this airport," said Dunn. "First, there is a federal grant obligation that requires the county to operate the airport for the next 19 years.

"But more significantly, in 1946, the federal government gave Buchanan Field to the county as surplus military property on the condition that the county operate it as an airport forever. If the county wants to close the airport, the land goes back to the federal government. Closing this airport is not an option."

FAA regional officials have already told the county the same thing.

"We fully expect FAA headquarters to do the same," said Dunn. "We intend to nip this idea in bud."

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