October 20, 2008
By Elizabeth A Tennyson
In a decision that consolidates airport ownership with its tax base, Pierce County in Washington State has decided to purchase Tacoma Narrows Airport from the city of Tacoma. AOPA has been fighting for the airport since 2006, when the city considered closing the field.
In the past, the airport was a source of contention because the city was responsible for its operating expenses while tax revenue went to the county. As a result, in 2006 the city manager considered closing the airport. But AOPA intervened, reminding city officials that federal grant obligations and the airport’s status as part of the National Plan for Integrated Airport Systems demanded the continued operation of the airport.
The unanimous vote on Sept. 30 by the Pierce County Council to purchase the airport should resolve many of the problems facing the field, AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Joe Faherty reports. County officials expect a small profit in 2009, compared to the losses faced by the city. In addition, plans for future park development on non-buildable areas of the airport could protect the field from encroachment and provide walking and horse trails to the larger community.
Pilots have formed a user group and launched a petition drive to save Runway 5/23 at Joplin Regional Airport in Joplin, Mo.
AOPA is urging Santa Rosa County officials who operate Peter Prince Field in Milton, Fla., to revise proposed rules to eliminate potential conflicts.
The new owners of a privately owned, public-use airport in an enviable New Jersey location have big plans, and vacant hangars.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.