FAA wants answers about Jones Riverside Airport


Federal scrutiny of Tulsa's airports continues to expand, with the potential of endangering tens of millions of dollars in federal funds for our two city-owned airports, Tulsa International and Jones Riverside, which was once one of the nation's busiest general aviation airports.

KFAQ was reporting today that on December 22, the FAA sent a letter to Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune expressing concern about charges of discriminatory rules and practices at Jones Riverside Airport designed to favor fixed-base operator Christiansen Aviation over its competitor, Roadhouse Aviation. Christiansen Aviation is owned by Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen. The FAA appears to be looking at the same allegations that were part of the lawsuit Roadhouse owner Kent Faith brought against the City and Christiansen.

Mayor LaFortune has until January 22 to reply, and he leaves today for a 10-day trip to Tiberias, Israel. He has no deputy mayor -- Steve Sewell resigned at the end of last year to go to work for the U. S. Attorney -- and his interim airports director is also City Clerk and Chief Financial Officer of the City.

City Councilor Sam Roop, who is heading up the Council's inquiry into the airports, said that the Council may send its own reply to the FAA if the Mayor fails to respond in a timely fashion. Roop said he had been trying to meet with the Mayor to help with a response, but he had yet to speak with the Mayor.

Roop also reminded the KFAQ audience that, although Phase I of the investigation is complete, the Council's investigation is ongoing, proceeding to look into these allegations of discriminatory rules, as well as the noise abatement program at Tulsa International Airport and other concerns.

Tulsa stands to lose both prestige and money if we don't get this mess cleaned up.

P.S.: I wish I could link you directly to the KFAQ website to hear audio of the interview with Councilor Roop, but they are still "working out the kinks" with streaming audio. I suspect it's a rights and licensing issue, but if it's a technical problem, guys, give me a call!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 5, 2005 11:41 PM.

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