Airport Governance Study starts Friday - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Airport Governance Study starts Friday

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte Douglass International Airport is getting a lot of attention.

As lawmakers in Raleigh debate legislation to take control of the airport away from the City of Charlotte and give it to an independent authority, a study commissioned by Charlotte city leaders will get started on Friday.

Bob Hazel of the Oliver Wyman Consulting Firm says "I need to ask why individuals are interested in changing governance structure, to find out what is driving the current legislation"

Hazel says for the first part of the report, which is due April 5th, he intends to interview  Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and city council members, the Mecklenburg County Delegation and the co-sponsors of the bill, the Airport Director, and members of the business community.

Hazel and the Charlotte Airport Governance Study Oversight Committee met for the first time on Thursday.

Interim City Manager Julie Burch says "the committee doesn't have a decision making role. It doesn't have a recommendation formulation role. It is simply to ensure that this outside study is as independent as it possibly can be."

The committee will provide guidance and feedback to the consultant.

Mike Minerva of US Airways - the largest airline at Charlotte Douglas International Airport - is on the committee.

"Our concern is that there is a swirl going on around the airport" says Minerva of the battle to control the airport.

"We are not picking sides in this - again  - we would just like to see calm and stability return. Charlotte has always been a well run airport and we'd like to see that continue."

The study will also look at how other airports are run, and see how Charlotte Douglas stacks up.

A public meeting is scheduled for April 16th. The final report on the Airport is due May 1st.

But some legislators pushing for change of control of the airport are not waiting for the study.

The Senate last week passed the bill calling for change to an independent authority.

The House is expected to take up the measure next week.

"We hope they would tap the brakes a little bit and wait" says Charlotte City Council member Andy Dulin, who has traveled to Raleigh to lobby legislators to leave Charlotte in control of the airport. "We've got some reports they're not as willing to wait as we'd hope and if they don't, we'll move forward."

Dulin says "this study has started and we will complete this study regardless of outcomes in Raleigh and then at the end of the study we'll know."

The city has created a web site - airportstudy.charlottenc.gov - so the public can get information about the study.

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