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Mon, Sep 23, 2013

No Decision Made On Who Will Run Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Congressman Pittenger Presses FAA For An Answer, Gets Nowhere

In the battle between the city of Charlotte, NC and the state of North Carolina over Charlotte Douglas International Airport, even a United States Congressman apparently can't get an answer from the FAA as to who holds the operating certificate for the facility.

U.S. Congressman Robert Pittenger (R-NC) (pictured) reportedly met with FAA officials for an hour Wednesday trying to get an answer to that question, but did not leave the meeting with an answer, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.

Pittenger represents the district that encompasses most of the city of Charlotte. The North Carolina legislature formed a 13-member commission in August to operate the airport, a major economic driver for the state. The city retains ownership. The commission would be responsible for day-to-day operations at the airport, including personnel decisions. The formation of the commission is opposed by the Charlotte City Council and Mayor Patsy Kinsey, even though the commission would be a part of city government.

So, Pittenger and others in the North Carolina delegation went to the FAA to find out which entity held the operating certificate. FAA officials referred them to a letter sent to Ron Carlee, the city manager of Charlotte, and State Attorney General Roy Cooper. The letter, dated July 29, raised questions about who would hold the operating certificate under the new plan. It is now a key piece of the legal battle between the city and the state.

Not that the new commission is having any better luck. An attorney for the commission told the Charlotte Observer that he has been trying to talk to the FAA about the issue for a month, and has also gotten nowhere. In response to a letter, the agency said that it was only discussing the matter with the city and the State Attorney General.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, a former Mayor of Charlotte, has said he must recuse himself from any discussion about the airport or other issues connected with the city for at least a year.



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