Battle Heats up Over Charlotte-Douglas International Airport

Battle Heats up over Charlotte airport


by Christine Noel
by Terrence Walker, Photojournalist

CHARLOTTE, NC- New twists Thursday in the battle over Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Hours after a judge issued a stop order to keep an airport authority from taking over, Aviation Director Jerry Orr has been fired, according to his attorney.

The City Manager says Orr resigned in a letter he sent outlining his duties as executive director of the new airport authority.

The City named the airport's Chief Financial Advisor, Brent Cagle as interim Aviation Director.

Meanwhile, soon after the legislature approved the airport authority, a judge in Charlotte issued a temporary restraining order putting any changes on hold for 10 days.

City Attorney, Bob Hagemann says the city will maintain control of the airport while the case goes to court.

On Thursday afternoon, Orr says they have a plan in place for the transition. For the 388 city employees, he says the authority will reimburse and pay for them through the end of the year.

For travelers in and out of Charlotte-Douglas, Orr says, it will be business as usual. "We think it will be absolutely transparent and we don't think they will notice anything at all."

Still, the battle over the airport is unnerving for some travelers and employees.

Charlotte City Councilman Warren Cooksey says it could have all been avoided. "...had there been a spirit of cooperation from the beginning, instead of an outlook of 'we know better than the city on how to run an airport,' " says Cooksey.

But the fight for ownership isn't over.

Hagemann says "If the state is successful in seizing the airport from the city, the city and its citizens are entitled to just compensation."


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