May 13, 2004 — AOPA is reaching out to the administration at Kent State University in Ohio, urging the school to rethink its plan to "decommission" Kent State University Airport (1G3). In a letter to Carol Cartwright, the school's president, the association pointed out that many of the school's concerns can be addressed without FAA approval and without taking the drastic step of closing the airport.
The school says it has been under pressure from airport neighbors to do something about noise and has publicly expressed a desire to move its flight school operation. "Such relocation could be completed at any time," wrote AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn. "There is no federal regulation requiring approval from the FAA to relocate the existing flight school operations."
Similarly, there is no federal requirement that would force the school to accommodate a demand for increases in airport services. Some opponents of airport expansion have argued that a plan to widen the runway would undoubtedly lead to more operations and more large aircraft.
"The proposal to widen the runway is based exclusively on improved safety," Dunn wrote. "Widening a runway does not lead to larger aircraft utilizing the airport, nor does widening the runway lead to the ultimate lengthening of the runway. Widening and lengthening are not connected in any way.
"The airport sponsor may choose to maintain the airport at its current design and capacity levels."
Dunn also reminded Cartwright that as part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems, Kent State University Airport is a crucial piece of a nationwide transportation system. In addition, Dunn pointed out, the university has accepted federal airport improvement program grant money, which comes with strings attached. "These obligations are a contract with the federal government. One of these contractual obligations requires the airport sponsor to maintain the airport as an airport for a period of 20 years," he wrote [emphasis added].