October 3, 2005
AOPA is pushing to participate in a study of Pine Mountain's Callaway Gardens-Harris County Airport (PIM) - a study recommended by AOPA Southeast Regional Representative Bob Minter and AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Roger Cohen in their earlier meeting with Harris County officials.
However, AOPA also has reservations about the study because, according to press reports, the Callaway Foundation - which owns the airport and the Callaway resort management company that wants to close it - is completely funding the 90-day study by the Georgia Institute of Technology.
No decisions regarding the airport's future will be made until after the study is complete.
"AOPA can be a valuable resource to Georgia Tech during this study, and we have pledged to give them our service anytime and anywhere at their convenience," Cohen said.
In a letter, AOPA urged the institute to thoroughly review all of the federal laws and restrictions involved with closing an airport, pointing out that the county cannot simply repay the federal government its investment in the airport.
The association also warned that failing to comply with the stipulations of FAA grants could have detrimental effects on current and future funding for transportation projects across Georgia.
"Once the airport is gone, there is little likelihood of starting a new airport anywhere in Harris County," Cohen said. "The community's 'on ramp' to the national aviation system will be closed forever."
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