FAA Inspects Macon Airport, Says Nothing

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector visited Middle Georgia Regional Airport on Wednesday, going over the airport's progress on a series of violations that threaten the airport's ability to offer commercial flights.

But, beyond that, an FAA spokeswoman said there's little to say until the inspector can huddle with other FAA officials.

"We really have nothing to say at this point," spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. "We'll make a determination and decide the next steps."

Rex Elder, Macon's interim aviation director, referred questions to Regina McDuffie, the city's chief administrative officer. McDuffie did not return telephone messages Wednesday afternoon.

Macon Mayor Jack Ellis, through spokesman Ron Wildman, declined to comment on the inspection itself, but he thanked city officials who have worked hard to keep the airport flying. He also thanked FAA officials who have been in frequent contact with the city during the past two months, as various problems were addressed, Wildman said.

"This is crunch time," Wildman said. "He hopes for the best."

The airport, which offers two flights to and two flights from Atlanta each day, has been through months of turmoil. Both the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration have cited the facility on a series of problems and Tuesday marked an FAA deadline. The former director, George Brown, was let go as some problems became public and Elder, who preceded Brown as director, was brought in on a temporary basis.

One of the main sticking points at the airport has been the lack of qualified personnel, according to FAA documents. McDuffie said Tuesday evening that the city has offered a key operations manager position to someone who has "tentatively accepted."

Salary negotiations remained, McDuffie said Tuesday, and the city also was considering bringing in temporary help from a private airport management company.

Bergen said an announcement about the airport's future will probably be made in the coming days.

Macon Telegraph

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