Two Communities Look To Close Airports

Aviation International News » September 2012
September 4, 2012, 5:10 AM

Blue Ash Airport, a part of Cincinnati, Ohio since the 1920s, was slated to close at the end of August following the city’s notification to the FAA, effectively ending a five-year battle between the city and airport users. As recently as last year the city had promised that the airport would continue to operate, albeit in a reconfigured form, but by mid-August crews had begun to remove the tanks in the fuel farm.

“The Cincinnati administration, led by Mayor Mark Mallory, has failed to honor previous commitments to AOPA and the aviation community that Blue Ash Airport would continue to operate as a general aviation airport,” said Bill Dunn, AOPA’s vice president of airport advocacy. With its 3,499-foot runway, the airport was once the busiest nontower facility in Ohio, according to Bill Christian, CEO of services provider Blue Ash Aviation, which plans to relocate to nearby Butler County Airport. Christian said the city of Blue Ash, which owns half the airport, plans to build a park and golf courses on its part of the site.

In another attempted closure, St. Clair, Mo., city authorities are wrapping up the final details requested by the FAA in their four-year process to shutter St. Clair Regional Airport. The city must receive FAA approval to close the airport since the obligations for federal grants used in land acquisition do not expire, and among the requirements specified by the agency was a meeting with interested stakeholders, including tenants and AOPA.

The city asserts the facility has failed to be profitable and is a drain on finances. If the FAA approves the closure, the city hopes eventually to lure retail merchants to the site, but Dunn believes the agency will not approve the closure. “The FAA is required under policy to consider a request to release an airport from federal obligations, but it is not required to grant the request,” he said.

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