Great Plains Airlines: January 2005 Archives

Beacon reports on the FAA letter


This week's edition of the Tulsa Beacon (on sale at Steve's Sundries and QuikTrip locations, among other places) reports on the letter the Federal Aviation Administration sent to Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune:

The Federal Aviation Administration has sent a letter to Mayor Bill LaFortune asking him to answer charges concerning City Councilor Bill Christiansen and Jones-Riverside Airport.

The letter is a response to charges by Kent Faith of Roadhouse Aviation, a direct competitor with Christiansen Aviation. Those are the only two companies that supply fuel at Jones Airport.

The letter raises the issue of “economic discrimination and exclusive rights” for the Tulsa Airport Authority.

“I welcome this,” Christiansen said. “It’s time to clear the air. All these accusations have already been disproved in a lawsuit. There is no judgment against me. I want to get past this and get on with the business of the airport.”

Maybe I misunderstood: I thought the accusations were settled out of court, not disproved in court. And the FAA's questions concern the actions of the airport authority in matters that concern Councilor Christiansen's business, but the questions don't directly accuse or question the Councilor's actions, as far as I can tell. I don't see why he should be taking offense.

The three issues raised by the letter have to do with allocation of hangar space, lease rates, apron access, and enforcement of the airport sign policy.

If the Tulsa Airport Authority is engaged in economic discrimination or granting exclusive rights, it could jeopardize federal grant money for projects at both city-owned airports, not only Jones Riverside, but also Tulsa International.

The Mayor and his staff will be tempted to circle the wagons and obscure everything in a cloud of legalese, in hopes that any discriminatory practices will be left undiscovered or at least unprovable. If the Tulsa Airport Authority has been violating FAA rules, it would be better to confess now and correct the problem, rather than get caught after a denial.

You can read the whole Beacon story here on their website until next Wednesday, when it will be replaced by next week's top story.

(I wish the Beacon would set up a blog and use it to file back articles on their site, rather than clear the old articles away at the end of the week. With most of the Tulsa Whirled content limited to subscribers, if the Beacon put all its city reporting online, it could win the Google battle -- be the higher ranked site for information about various city officials and institutions. It would be simple -- use Blogger and have the files FTPed to

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!

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Great Plains Airlines category from January 2005.

Great Plains Airlines: November 2004 is the previous archive.

Great Plains Airlines: February 2005 is the next archive.

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