Originally created 02/16/99

Mayor's note backs airport funds shift



Augusta Mayor Bob Young has written the president of Delta Air Lines in defense of the city's proposed transfer of $30,000 from Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field to Daniel Field to help solve Daniel Field's financial problems.

In his response to an earlier letter from a Delta official to Augusta Regional Manager Al McDill stating that Delta is "very troubled" by the transfer, Mr. Young went over the head of John W. Boatright a Delta vice president.

"I went to his boss," Mr. Young said in an interview with The Augusta Chronicle on Monday. "I'm the CEO of the city, so I felt I should respond to the CEO of the corporation. That's proper.

"We don't see there's a problem with the transfer. We wanted to make that clear to Delta Air Lines. We don't believe there's anything improper here."

In his letter, the mayor stated he was "shocked" to learn that Delta would oppose the transfer, and he made the case for Daniel Field's support role in Augusta aviation.

Mr. Young informed Delta President and Chief Executive Officer Leo F. Mullin that the Federal Aviation Administration had been consulted about the legality of the transfer.

In his Jan. 29 letter to Mr. McDill, Mr. Boatright stated that Delta and other tenants of Bush Field should not be required to subsidize the costs of operating a general aviation airport that provides no benefits to the users of Bush Field.

Mr. Boatright cited legal issues concerning the transfer.

Monday, Mr. Young said money from Bush Field has been used by the city on two previous occasions without "one peep out of Delta Airlines or anybody else out there.

"Charles DeVaney took out $2 million for the city's general operations and Delta had no objection to that, and about 10 years ago we took money out of Bush Field to do some paving work up at Daniel Field, and Delta had no problem with that."

Delta may have had no objection to the $2 million transfer by the former city, but the Federal Aviation Administration did, and the consolidated government had to reimburse Bush Field for the former city's borrowing.

Sylvia Cooper can be reached at (706) 823-3228 or sylviaco@augustachronicle.com.