Final draft of Airport Governance Study now available online - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

CLT Airport Study: Airport should transition to an airport authority

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport should be transitioned from the city's control to an airport authority governing body, according to the final draft of a study on airport governance released by the city Thursday afternoon.

Public comments and the final draft of the study on governance at Charlotte Douglas International Airport have been released and can now be accessed by visiting http://airportstudy.charlottenc.gov/.

But while recommending the switch the an authority type model, the study says the current pending state legislation does meet their "best practice" criteria.

The study, conducted by Oliver Wyman, says the current legislation does not provide for a well structured authority and would not allow for a smooth transition of control.

The final draft is being released prior to the next Airport Governance Study meeting to allow time for members to fully review the 62-page report.

The study says the board size should be between 7 and 11 people, with the city of Charlotte having appointment power over a large number of board members, but not a majority.

Board appointments should be made by important stakeholders, meaning Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and local organizations, according to the study.

Issues that might arise during the transition to an authority include bond transfers and pensions, the study says.

Mayor Anthony Foxx released a statement on the study Friday morning.

"Mayor Foxx feels the draft report clearly says this issue shouldn't be rushed and the current legislation regarding an authority won't be good for our airport.  He believes there's something in the report for everyone," Foxx said in the statement. "Locally, it gives Charlotte a reason to open up a conversation about an authority and in Raleigh, it gives legislators a reason to stop the bill."

Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg says he is "pleased with the study" and that the findings "validates what we thought was best." 

The draft report includes a review of airport governance models and issues associated with transition to a different governance model at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

The Charlotte City Council commissioned the study in response to pending state legislation regarding governance at Charlotte Douglas International Airport that was introduced without a comprehensive analysis.

The City has stated its opposition to the creation of an airport authority. The goal of the independent study is to ensure that the public and decision-makers are aware of all potential outcomes. The document is to be used as information, context, and a guide for decision-making.

The study consists of four phases: 1) determine the drivers for interest in change of governance; 2) review and assess current governance of U.S. airports; 3) review and assess peer airports' governance; and 4) governance transition issues.

The independent review was conducted by the Oliver Wyman firm, and was managed by Robert A. Hazel, a partner in the firm.

As part of the study, interviews were conducted by Mr. Hazel with business, community, and elected leaders.

In addition, interested citizens and stakeholders were given the opportunity to provide comments to the Airport Governance Study Oversight Committee, which was established to provide guidance and feedback to the consultant, and monitor the progress of the study.

Public comment was also received through a section on the Airport Governance Study web site. All comments received online were forwarded directly to the consultant for inclusion in the final report.

As part of its review process, the Airport Governance Study Oversight Committee will meet next week to discuss the final draft report with the consultant on Monday, April 29, at 1:30 p.m., at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, Room 267.

The meeting will be streamed live at http://govchannel.charmeck.org or available for viewing on the GOV Channel (Cable 16).

Future meetings and publication dates related to the Airport Governance Study:

Monday, May 6, 5:00 p.m.

  • Study consultant presents final report to City Council for information and discussion

Room 267, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center

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