Despite AOPA's strong opposition, the North Carolina General Assembly this week advanced House Bill 1051, which would allow the creation of the Macon-Jackson Regional Airport Authority in North Carolina - the first step toward potential closure of either county's current airport. While the legislation does not require an airport closure, local pilots are concerned that the consolidation of the two airport agencies signals the intent of local Jackson County officials to close their airport, the smaller of the two. "Neither airport could serve the region by itself as well as the two together do currently, and both ought to be allowed to stand on their own foundation," AOPA wrote in a letter to the state's Senate Finance Committee. AOPA also pointed out that the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Division of Aviation and the FAA have invested in each airport, and any sale or conveyance of airport property at either airport would have to be approved by those two agencies.
July 22, 2005