John Cole’s cartoon of Feb. 6, a bird (Moore County) holding a worm (subsidies) feeding a baby airliner (passenger air service), is another attempt by The Pilot to stir up anti-airport sentiment.
The Moore County Airport doesn’t have scheduled Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 121 airline service, has not had service since the ill-fated Delta experiment and never will, given current airline economics and the fact that Raleigh is but a 75-minute drive, Charlotte less than two hours.
The airport supports solely FAR part 91 (general aviation) and FAR Part 135 (on-demand charter).
Delta’s service (operated by Delta commuter Atlantic Southeast Airlines, not Delta) was secured by the Moore County Airport Authority (not Moore County) granting Delta a revenue guarantee paid from funds generated by hangar rental and fuel sales. The equipment necessary to service the flights was funded from the same source.
Two years of seasonal air service was a flop for these reasons: bad schedule, little demand for service, lack of a certificated weather observer, etc.
Delta’s termination had nothing to do with Delta’s excuses, everything to do with the refusal by the authority to renew the revenue guarantee; if they had, Delta still couldn’t run the service profitably.
The authority paid Delta around $500,000 to settle its lawsuit.
Several authority members still advertise the pipe dream of commercial air service, but they know, as do locally based aircraft owners and pilots, that it will never happen.
Those I know who own or operate aircraft, pay hangar rent, buy (somewhat overpriced) avgas and pay personal property taxes to Moore County for the privilege of owning an airplane in Moore County (the tax dollars being rebated to the airport) wish to avoid funds ever again being wasted subsidizing local airline service.
The Pilot and its cartoonist should stop misinforming its readers.
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