Leaders pushing for airport commission ready to return to court

by: Jim Bradley Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As planes took off at Charlotte Douglas on Thursday, former aviation director Jerry Orr and the controversial airport commission he heads remain in limbo.

"I'm an aviation director without an airport," Orr said.

Orr insists he's unfazed by the Federal Aviation Administration decision to keep the city running the airport until a lawsuit over control plays out in court.

"The judge put it to the FAA to make the decision," Orr said. "The FAA has punted it back and now we can get on with the decision."

Orr, along with state Sen. Bob Rucho, and Rep. Bill Brawley, who pushed the airport takeover in Raleigh all say they believe a judge will eventually rule in their favor.

From Raleigh on Thursday, Rucho suggested the FAA, which reports to former Charlotte mayor and current U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has an anti-commission agenda.

"The FAA just tried to punt it to avoid making a decision that will likely be unfavorable to the city and/or to the former mayor," Rucho said.

The city is saying it could take a year or longer to resolve legal issues.

"That would be bad if it was drug out for a long time. I would appreciate it if the court would go ahead and handle it expeditiously," Brawley said.

However long it takes, Orr said getting back to court isn't a bad thing.

"I think it moves us further down the road to getting the commission going," Orr said.