Charlotte Airport Battle

Airport Commission meets once again; still no consensus over control of Charlotte Douglas

Charlotte’s in-limbo Airport Commission met Thursday night for the first time since September, but it failed to reach a consensus on who should control Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Last October, a Superior Court judge ruled that the General Assembly’s creation of the commission was legal, though the group could not run the airport until the Federal Aviation Administration granted it an operating certificate.

The FAA had asked the commission whether it wanted to offer its opinion on what should happen in the tug-of-war.

Six members of the commission – who represent outlying counties – voted in favor of responding to the FAA and asking that the commission be given the airport keys. Six members of the commission from the city of Charlotte voted against the idea. Charlotte appointee Cameron Harris was absent.

Deadlocked with six votes each, the motion failed.

Commission Chairman Robert Stolz said it was the responsibility of the city and state to offer opinions on who should operate the airport.

“We are trying to maintain our consistent approach,” said Stolz, a city appointee. “The issue is between the city and state. We have said we stand ready to do the job if we are called upon. We will stay consistent. We will not get into the fray.”

But the members of the commission from surrounding counties felt differently.

“We have a duty to try and get the operating certificate,” said Lanny Lancaster of Cabarrus County.

Said Tom Anderson of Lincoln County: “I think some of us, all of us, do care. Some of us believe we should receive approval.”

The commission’s input would not have likely influenced the FAA’s decision. But the vote adds another strange chapter to the 13-member group, which meets periodically to discuss airport issues but has no authority to do anything.

The commission hasn’t set a time for its next meeting.