Tigwell to Stay at Metropolitan Airports Commission's Helm

The Metropolitan Airports Commission said Monday that Chairwoman Vicki Tigwell has declined a job with an Australian telephone company and will stay with the panel she has led for more than three years.


The Metropolitan Airports Commission said Monday that Chairwoman Vicki Tigwell has declined a job with an Australian telephone company and will stay with the panel she has led for more than three years.

Tigwell opted to stay for "personal reasons," the MAC said in a prepared statement. Tigwell also wants to concentrate on several issues facing the panel, including the bankruptcy of Northwest Airlines, according to the statement.

MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan said Tigwell was unavailable for interviews.

The MAC operates the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and several regional community airports.

Eagan-based Northwest poses a big potential problem for the airports commission. The carrier is the Twin Cities airport's largest tenant and owes the MAC approximately $269 million on a loan taken out in 1992. The commission has engaged in preliminary talks with Northwest about concessions on airport rates and fees, Hogan said.

In its reorganization, Northwest is concentrating on getting wage concessions from employees and relief on aircraft leases before focusing on the airport. Northwest and its regional carriers lease 101 of 127 gates at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, as well as office space, parking, maintenance facilities and hangars.

As Hogan noted, the bankruptcy raises the stakes for the airports commission: "We have to be very careful and deliberate in negotiations."

Tigwell's rejection of Orion Telecommunications Ltd. is a bit of a reversal. The Hobart, Tasmania-based company had said last week that Tigwell, 54, was its new director of operations and would lead efforts to straighten out its Australia operations. Meanwhile, the office of Gov. Tim Pawlenty — the governor appointed Tigwell to the MAC in 2003 — had said Tigwell was still mulling the job.

Tim Huber can be reached at thuber@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5580.


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