Leesburg Airport Committee: No to FBO Seats, Yes to Biz Association

The ad hoc committee formed to review recommended changes to Leesburg’s Airport Commission has decided, for the most part, to maintain the status quo.

The committee was recently formed and tasked with reviewing recommendations first introduced by Mayor Kelly Burk in January that would have changed the commission’s membership makeup, responsibility, mission and oversight. Burk has stated her desire to have the commission have a more business-first, economic development approach, and has particularly pushed for more inclusion of its fixed-based operators, at their behest.

One change supported by the ad hoc committee was Vice Mayor Marty Martinez’s suggestion to create an airport business association. The association would be a separate entity from the commission, possibly a nonprofit, that would have representatives from each airport-based business represented. That would include its current and future fixed-based operators, ProJet Aviation and SK Aviation, respectively, along with Leesburg Executive Airport’s four flight schools. The business association would be permitted to appoint a representative to the Airport Commission that would have voting powers.

The Airport Commission had recently endorsed the formation of an airport business operators subcommittee, which would be composed of representatives from all 11 airport businesses, with a commissioner serving as a liaison. Commission Chairman Dennis Boykin said Wednesday that if the ad hoc committee’s recommendation to form the airport business association was approved by the council and later created, he would approach his fellow commissioners about removing the business operators subcommittee from the commission’s bylaws.

“The ABA in my mind replaces the existing airport business operators subcommittee,” he said.

One other change supported by the ad hoc committee was the addition of a liaison from the town’s Economic Development Commission as a non-voting member to the commission.

Committee members did not endorse a change first proposed by Burk to add FBO representatives to the commission as ex officio, non-voting members. Burk, who introduced a series of Town Code changes to the commission in January, said both FBOs had advocated for better representation on the commission.

The committee also did not endorse the introduction of term limits on the Airport Commission, or changes to how council members make their appointments. Also voted down was changing the commission’s membership makeup to require representation from a town resident with no affiliation with the airport, or a certain number of pilots or business representatives.

The committee’s recommendations are expected to go before the Town Council for discussion at a future meeting.

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

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