Local pilot politics key to saving airports

February 3, 2006

Local pilot politics key to saving airports
Helped protect Minneapolis' Crystal Airport

Crystal City Airport

Local pilots have to be engaged, politically active, and work closely with AOPA and their AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer to save their airports. That was the message AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn gave to Minneapolis-area pilots last week, speaking to several groups at Crystal Airport. But it's a message worth repeating for pilots everywhere.

"Crystal Airport outside of Minneapolis has a much brighter future today because local pilots were active and made it very clear to the politicians that this airport is important," said Dunn.

Crystal Airport, one of six GA reliever airports for Minneapolis-St. Paul International, has been under attack for more than two years, with proponents of closing the airport claiming it is an economic drain and provides no benefit to the local community.

"But thanks to the continued involvement of a lot of dedicated people, the members of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) have accepted the results of the economic study, which prove that Crystal is a key component of the MAC-operated reliever system and generates millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs annually," said Dunn. "And now the MAC has directed that updates be made to the comprehensive plans of all the reliever airports in the MAC system, including Crystal."

According to Dunn, the acceptance of the study and the updated comprehensive plans are clear signals that the MAC intends to keep operating Crystal Airport for some time.

March 2, 2006