June 3, 2004 - On behalf of local pilots and at the request of Airport Support Network Volunteer Neal Chancellor, AOPA Florida Regional Representative Nelson Rhodes spoke before the Melbourne International Airport Authority recently to address two key issues for local general aviation pilots - the importance of competitive fueling sources and the need to keep the crosswind runway open.
The Airport Authority is considering adopting a master plan that would eventually close the crosswind runway. The plan calls for relocating general aviation and expanding the main runway in order to attract international service to the community on Florida's central east coast. A European charter carrier has dangled the carrot of starting service if the airport makes the needed accommodations. General aviation witnesses have told the Airport Authority about possible safety and capacity issues should the proposed master plan be adopted.
On the fueling issue, AOPA's Rhodes, who has nearly 20 years' experience managing both commercial service and general aviation airports, urged authority members to pursue competitive fueling options. Airport officials have asked AOPA to help develop standards to include in a solicitation for a fueling agent.