"It allows us to move forward," David Austin, chairman of the Paulding County Board of Commissioners, told Reuters.
argued that Delta is using unfair and deceptive practices to kill their project.
The U.S. Department of Transportation
is looking into the issues. [ID:nL1N0SN362]
Protect Paulding County says elected leaders worked "behind closed doors" to start commercial service after pledges years ago that jetliners would never land at the airport, also known as Silver Comet Field.
The organization says noise, traffic and crime will rise, the environment will suffer and taxpayers will be on the hook for a "multi-million-dollar project on which they had no input."
Austin, the commission chairman, said meetings were held openly.
"We never had to meet in secret because nobody ever came to our meetings," he
"Until we announced we're going for the (commercial certificate) nobody cared."
The county has paid about $1 million for the airport, which opened in 2008; funding has also included more than $40 million from the FAA
and several million dollars from the state.
"Anybody I know who's a businessman would do that deal," Austin
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Currently, there are about 18 private planes based at the airport, Austin
The commercial service would remain small, geared to vacationers who "fly into Disney World for $59," without driving to Atlanta, Austin said.
Development will allow the county to control the scale of the airport, he
still owns nearly 10,000 acres in Paulding County that it bought in the 1970s for a second airport.
If the county doesn't develop its own field, the city could eventually build a major airport on that land, he