The NC Senate will vote Wednesday on a controversial bill that would strip Charlotte of control over its airport. The bill, sponsored by Republican Senators Bob Rucho, Tom Apodaca, and David Curtis, would create a new bureaucracy called the Charlotte Regional Airport Authority which would seize control of the facility from the city.
A companion bill in the NC House, also sponsored exclusively by Republican legislators, has not yet advanced out of committee.
Supporters of the bill claim the city lacks the expertise to manage the growing airport, and believe the Charlotte airport “will be more efficiently run under an appointed, self-regulating authority with no ties to the city.”
Airport Director Jerry Orr supports the plan, as reported by the Charlotte Observer:
Charlotte Douglas aviation director Jerry Orr, 71, who could retire soon, has suggested that he would welcome authority oversight. Relations between Orr and city staff have been strained over questions about supervision and airport security.
The Charlotte airport has been managed by the city since it opened in 1936. The proposal to transition control to Raleigh has been actively opposed by city officials. Democrat Mayor Anthony Foxx and Councilman Andy Dulin travelled to Raleigh to voice their opposition and request further study of the impact a takeover would have on the airport and its operations.