Apparently, the Venice City Council doesn’t welcome honest advice from its Florida citizens. That, at least, is the message to Florida pilots after the council called for the resignation of every member of the airport advisory board, says the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the world’s largest aviation organization representing more than 415,000 members, or 70 percent of the U.S. pilot population.
It is a stunning slap to the aviation community. Members of the board haven’t always seen eye to eye with the city council on airport issues. In particular, the airport needs safety improvements to Runway 4/22, according to airport users.
AOPA and the FAA have told the city that it needs to make the airport a top priority. Previously, the council proposed shortening the runway or restricting the size of aircraft operating there. The association hopes the council will take action to improve the airport by submitting its updated airport master plan to the FAA before the end of August.
“Despite the fact that the guidance of the board may run contrary to the opinions of those who serve on the city council, the city would be well served in maintaining the current airport advisory board members and acting on the solid guidance they have offered the city’s elected officials,” wrote Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airports, in a letter to Venice Mayor Ed Martin. “Advisory bodies like this should not be filled with ‘yes-men,’ but rather with individuals who can offer the city their expertise and good judgment.”
AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer John Yurosko is a member of the board. Airport advisory boards play a critical role in educating local elected officials and the community on the value of the airport.
AOPA is committed to ensuring the continued viability, growth, and development of aviation and airports in the United States. These airports are a vital and critical component of a national transportation system.