Legislature Passes Airport Commission Bill


by Christine Noel
by Tim Mullican, Photojournalist

CHARLOTTE, NC- The political power struggle over Charlotte Douglas International Airport is far from over tonight.  Another new bill... another possible legal challenge.

An Airport commission is presumably in charge of the airport. But the city's legal challenge to the airport authority is still in play.

Just after 1:00am Friday morning, state lawmakers passed a law transferring power of Charlotte-Douglas to a 13-member airport commission.  The commission would be responsible with overseeing the airport's daily operations.

Under the law, Jerry Orr will be reinstated as Aviation Director after being ousted last week.

"I am very pleased to go back to work," says Orr.

Orr says he is glad that the new law puts him back in charge of the airport, but says he plans to sit tight until the legal process is all sorted out.

Just last week, a judge issued a stop-order on a bill creating an airport authority.

Orr's attorney, Richard Vinroot says he doesn't know if that restraining order has any power over the new commission.

"We're not out there like MacArther saying 'We've returned.' We are going to wait until the court talks to us next week and approach it like reasonable people ought to approach it," says Vinroot.

City Manager Ron Carlee says interim Aviation Director Brent Cagle is still in control of airport operations. He says the city is looking closely at the new law and is evaluating all of its options before moving forward.

"I assure you will we spend more time analyzing it then was spent writing it or debating it," says Carlee.

Mayor Patsy Kinsey has called a special council meeting Monday afternoon.




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