Paulding airport plan suffers new setback

In a further blow to plans for a second airport offering airline service in metro Atlanta, Paulding county commissioners voted to renounce support for commercializing their county airport.

The commission Tuesday approved resolution with a 3-2 vote that includes a request to withdraw an application to the Federal Aviation Administration for the commercialization of their county airport.

The vote reflects a shift in the county commission’s makeup and its stance on the airport issue. Two new commissioners took seats this month after running last year on platforms opposing commercialization. They joined a third incumbent who was anti-airport commercialization.

The county is a co-sponsor of the airport, along with the Paulding County Airport Authority.

Still, it’s unclear what the vote will mean for the airport commercialization application. The FAA had no comment on the commission vote.

County Commission Chairman David Austin remains a supporter of the commercialization plan and said pulling out of the effort could raise the risk of a lawsuit for breach of contract. The airport authority partnered with Propeller Investments for the airport commercialization and struck long-term leases with the firm.

Propeller’s business plan included attracting a leisure-oriented airline to fly in and out of the airport, initially a few times a week. The company had previously been involved in a failed effort to commercialize Briscoe Field in Gwinnett County.

The idea drew fire from some Paulding residents as well as from Delta Air Lines and the city of Atlanta, both of which oppose any airport commercialization that might create a competitor for city-owned Hartsfield-Jackson International.