Touching Bases: AOPA opposes privatizing New Orleans airport

 - July 30, 2008, 10:58 AM

AOPA is worried about an increase in charter and corporate aircraft operations squeezing out smaller general aviation aircraft at New Orleans Lakefront Airport if the FAA accepts a proposal for the Orleans Levee District to lease the airport to American Airports Corp. The association said that AAC’s proposal will change the role of the airport so that it “caters” to business aircraft, which could lead to increased fees to tenants and operators because the airport would have to meet stiffer federal security and other requirements. In addition, the federal airport privatization program is intended to “provide a vehicle for private investment in airport development rather than continue to draw against federal funding,” AOPA said. These other points “should be adequate reason for [the FAA] rejecting approval of the application.” Lakefront is already no stranger to corporate aircraft. It is currently home to about 25 turbine business aircraft, according to sources at the airport. American Airports, based in Santa Monica, Calif., currently operates eight airports, including Henderson Field on Midway Island and the Supermarine FBO at Santa Monica Airport.