FAA: Paulding airport plan still alive amid opposition

An effort to bring airline service to the small airport in Paulding County will continue, despite opposition from a majority of the county’s reconstituted board of commissioners.

Following elections last year that installed two new members, Paulding commissioners in January passed a resolution on a 3-2 vote that included a request to withdraw an application to the Federal Aviation Administration for the commercialization of the Paulding airport, now called Silver Comet Field.

But the FAA in a June 30 letter said it “is inclined to deem the Part 139 [airport commercialization] application to remain active and pending.”

The commission’s sway in the matter is unclear, due to an earlier agreement between the county and the airport. That deal made the airport authority, rather than the county, responsible for operating the airport. The airport authority remains in favor of commercializing the airport.

The FAA invited the county to provide a legal opinion if it disagrees, including a “legal analysis under Georgia state law supporting the County’s ability to withdraw the application” despite the airport authority’s designation as the operator of the airport.

Backers of commercialization hope to draw airline service to the tiny airport about 35 miles northwest of Atlanta. But some county residents formed an organized opposition and are waging a legal battle to stymie the plan. It is also opposed by the city of Atlanta and Delta Air Lines, which say a second airline airport would bleed resources from Hartsfield-Jackson International.