October 12, 2010
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA is urging city officials in St. George, Utah, to heed the concerns of local pilots facing hardships in the transition to the city’s new airport, which is set to open in January 2011 and replace the existing St. George Municipal Airport. Operations at the airport would cease at that time.
Pilots now based at St. George Municipal Airport face obstacles from proposed lease terms to hangar site evaluations by the FAA which could leave GA facilities unready to accommodate them. Requirements for fire-suppression equipment in excess of national standards for the types of hangars either to be moved from the old airport or built at the new site were also imposed. The new airport will be located about five miles southeast of downtown St. George.
Members are frustrated at the city’s apparent unwillingness to continue discussing the problems with would-be tenants. Preliminary meetings only revealed the city’s refusal to compromise on mandates that would add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of the new hangars. The deadlock has reportedly caused some pilots to begin selling their aircraft.
AOPA Manager of Airport Policy John L. Collins wrote to Mayor Daniel D. McArthur, who is a pilot, on Sept. 30, noting “serious concerns about the availability of GA facilities at the new airport,” and encouraging the mayor to meet again with airport tenants. Collins planned to contact the mayor by telephone.
“We would like to help both sides come to a reasonable solution,” he wrote.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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