Despite noise complaints from a few vocal airport opponents, Hilton Head Airport is not in danger of closing, Southeast Regional Representative Bob Minter reported to AOPA after meeting with state and local officials about the airport last week at the South Carolina Aviation Association Conference. Controversy over Hilton Head had escalated recently because the airport's master plan is being updated. "It is our intent to ensure that the airport will not close, no matter how vocal the airport opponents get," said AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn. "We've talked to the FAA, and they have indicated to us that they have no intentions of allowing a repayment of the federal investments in order to close the grant-obligated airport. And Bob Minter talked directly to the officials involved at the local level, explaining their obligations to maintain the airport and keep it operating." The $16 million in Airport Improvement Program funding - including money for land acquisition - that has been invested in Hilton Head comes with regulatory teeth attached that require it remain open.
February 16, 2007