Charlotte airport leadership could be overhauled

by: Scott Wickersham Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

After weeks of silence, North Carolina senators moved quickly Tuesday on a bill that could end the city of Charlotte's legal challenge over who controls Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
 
Republican senators said the bill declares the new airport commission is part of the city so the Federal Aviation Administration can give it power to run the airport.
 
But Democrats said it’s a sneak attack on the airport.
 
The title of the bill is "Act to Clarify that the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Commission is an agency within the City of Charlotte."
 
If passed, the Charlotte City Council, mayor and city manager are required to work on the commission’s behalf to "secure for the commission the right and ability to fully exercise the powers granted to it under this charter,” the bill stated.
 
That could possibly force Charlotte to work to get an operating certificate to put this new commission in charge.
 
Between sessions in Raleigh Tuesday, newly appointed Mecklenburg County Sen. Jeff Jackson blasted the law. 
 
“I think this is a sneak attack on the airport. This is the end game,” Jackson said. “It could be read as interfering with ongoing litigation between the city and state. It’s trying to resolve that litigation in favor of the state.”
 
It is legislation he vows to try and stop.
 
The man Jackson replaced, Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, issued a statement on behalf of the city, saying he’s disappointed and "I think the airport and the community all are better served if we can first find a resolution of this dispute among interests here in Charlotte and then decide how to put that solution into legislation. I would ask that the General Assembly stand down from this new legislative proposal while local discussions in Charlotte continue."
 
But with a Republican majority in Raleigh, the legislation could be on the fast track to becoming law.
               
Channel 9 also called Airport Commission Chairman Robert Stolz but did not hear back.
 
If the law passes, Stolz could soon be in charge of a commission that would have power to run the airport.