The master plan update process at Hilton Head Airport in South Carolina has sparked fierce controversy in the area. Some fear the revision would call for extending the 4,300-foot-runway, which airport opponents say would bring in more jet traffic and create more noise issues. Others want an expansion in order to keep the current air carrier service. The most extreme opponents want to close the airport. AOPA plans to make sure that doesn't happen. "Hilton Head is obligated by more than $16 million in Airport Improvement Program grants to keep the airport open," said AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn. "The FAA has told us that they are not interested in any repayment of grants or allowing the airport to be closed." Some of the funding was used to buy airport land, which means the facility must remain open permanently. AOPA is working with Hilton Head Airport Support Network volunteer Patty Blackmon and the FAA. AOPA Southeastern Regional Representative Bob Minter will be meeting with state and federal officials this week in South Carolina to discuss the issue and express AOPA's opposition to any talk of closing the vital community airport.
February 9, 2007