Chattahoochee Tech is part of the Technical College System of Georgia, and the state’s move would create a new program for the college. The funding would be on condition that the airport remains a general aviation facility without commercial airline service, according to two people with direct knowledge of the agreement.
Delta Air Lines and the city of Atlanta have for years opposed the commercialization of the Paulding airport, known as Silver Comet Field.
County officials declined to comment on the record on the state's announcement, but it's likely welcomed news to some Paulding politicians. A majority of the county's board of commissioners now opposes commercializing the airport.
The commercialization process was halted earlier this year by the Federal Aviation Administration after the airport did not respond to a request for revisions to documents.
Still, there had been a chance the effort would be revived next year, when new commissioners take their seats and the dynamic of the debate could shift. Any new application to expand the facility would need the support of the airport authority and the county board.
Some legal fights continue over Paulding airport commercialization, and it’s yet to be seen how supporters of commercialization will respond to the state’s move.
A formal announcement of the aviation academy is planned Friday.
The story so far
2013: Paulding officials and Propeller Investments announce plans to commercialize Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport, to be renamed Silver Comet Field at Paulding Northwest Atlanta. Delta CEO Richard Anderson opposes the plan, and residents file the first legal challenge.
2016: The Federal Aviation Administration says it will not make a decision on commercial service at the Paulding airport until litigation is “fully and definitely resolved by a final, non-reviewable judgment.” The letter effectively puts the commercialization effort on hold while legal wrangling continues.
2018: The FAA sends a letter saying that it is closing the file on Paulding’s airport application.