CHARLOTTE, NC– Charlotte City leaders received a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration saying it will not make a decision about who runs the airport until the city’s lawsuit against the state is resolved in court.
Will it be the city of Charlotte? Or the newly formed 13-member Airport Commission?
Charlotte resident Phil Davis says the ongoing power-struggle is confusing and nobody he’s spoken with seems to care.
“As long as they get their flight, gets them to where they want to go, if the price is right, they couldn’t care who owns this thing,” says Davis, in regards to airport ownership.
City Officials like Republican Council member Andy Dulin say you should care.
“You should care. We all have to care!,” says Dulin, “…The citizens of Charlotte, the tax-payers of Charlotte, the people who have built it, nurtured it, who have grown it deserve the governance.”
Senator Bob Rucho agrees. “Charlotte Douglas airport and the intermodal part are a critical economic asset for the city, the region and the state,” says Rucho.
Right now, the City maintains control over the airport, which City Attorney Bob Hagemann says is a huge victory in the city’s fight to retain power over Charlotte-Douglas.
“What Mr. Vinroot and his client were seeking was a green light from the FAA to operate the airport. They didn’t get that. I don’t know how that could be interpreted as anything other than a victory,” says Hagemann.
Though Jerry Orr, head of the 13-member airport commission and his attorney, Richard Vinroot disagree. “I think the city’s game-plan is that it should be delayed, delayed, delayed… I don’t think that’s in the best interest of our airport,” says Vinroot.
Despite the delay, Orr says the decision by the FAA is a step in the right of direction, one that he believes will result in the airport commission coming out on top. “I think it’s good movement,” says Orr.
The letter from the FAA says it didn’t want to make a decision because it needs clarification on whether the commission is an agency of the city or an independent district.
The current legal battle could take more than a year to settle.