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AOPA seeks to protect N.Y. pilots who may be forced to relocate to a new airportAOPA seeks to protect N.Y. pilots who may be forced to relocate to a new airport

AOPA seeks to protect N.Y. pilots who may be forced to relocate to a new airport

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Oneida County Airport

AOPA's main goal is to protect the interests of its members. In the case of AOPA members based at Oneida County Airport in Utica, New York, that means helping to protect the interests of tenants who might be forced to move to Griffiss Airpark (formerly Griffiss Air Force Base), a much larger facility 5 miles away in Rome, New York. Part of that effort is ensuring that those who might have to move aren't hit with any significant rate or fee increases.

The county is planning to decommission the airport at the end of next year and acquire Griffiss Airpark. However, it is possible that the county could sell the airport as an airport.

"While we are concerned about the potential impact of this relocation on our members currently based at Oneida, we also understand that the acquisition of Griffiss by the county could provide a significant opportunity to improve the aviation infrastructure and economic development in the county," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports, in a letter to Oneida County Executive Joseph Griffo.

AOPA reminded Griffo that the FAA requires existing airport users and tenants be treated fairly and reasonably accommodated during the relocation process.

"We urge you to actively involve and consult with these airport customers during the transition process," Dunn wrote. "These users should not be subject to significant and dramatic rate and fee increases at the new airport facility."

The county is exploring various options for the selling of the airport, including keeping it as an airport.

"AOPA asks that the county fairly consider all reasonable proposals, including the potential sale of Oneida as an airport," Dunn wrote. "We also urge the county to seek the largest return possible from the sale of Oneida property in order to fund the move to Griffiss."

November 30, 2005

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