Mr. Jeffrey Hamiel
Metropolitan Airports Commission
6040 28th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55450
Dear Mr. Hamiel:
On behalf of the more than 388,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), 7,600 who live in the state of Minnesota, we are opposed to any attempt to sell general aviation airports under the commission's control. We are deeply concerned by the recent Minneapolis Star Tribune article in which you discuss the idea of selling smaller airports in order to cut costs. Whatever cost cutting measures the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) decides are necessary, make no mistake, AOPA strongly believes the six smaller airports presently operated by MAC must remain open to the public without unreasonable increases in rates and charges.
The MAC has already agreed to that same assurance with the federal government when more than $21.8 million of federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding was received for these six airports.
With more than 1,900 based aircraft and 822,000 annual operations, these airports are a vital part of the national air transportation system. The loss or deterioration of any one of those airports would have a significant impact on the entire Minneapolis airport system and would contribute significantly to delays at Minneapolis St-Paul International Airport, as the demand for aircraft traffic will increase but available airport options will decrease.
AOPA urges you to not put the interest of the commercial air service providers before the best interests of the entire Minneapolis airport system. We would be pleased to work with the MAC to address and discuss alternatives to meet the needs aviation users in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Andrew V. Cebula
Senior Vice President
Government and Technical Affairs
November 22, 2002