FAA may restrict flights for convention

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2012

By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — The Federal Aviation Administration might issue a temporary flight restriction for the Rowan County Airport during the Democratic National Convention.
Airport Director Thad Howell mentioned the possibility during a strategic planning session this week hosted by the Economic Development Commission.
“It looks like we will be wrapped up in that,” he said.
Howell told the Post after the meeting the restriction is only a draft at this point, and he will not know for two weeks whether the FAA will restrict flights in and out of Rowan during the convention.
President Obama’s three-day nominating party begins on Labor Day in Charlotte.
If the FAA issues a temporary flight restriction for Rowan, it will only affect small, private planes, Howell said.
Kathleen Bergen, FAA public affairs officer, said nothing has been finalized for small airports surrounding Charlotte. Any temporary flight restrictions must be issued 30 days before the convention, she said.
Bergen said in general, restrictions can vary from airport to airport and do not necessarily mean that no planes can take off or land for the duration of an event.
The Rowan County Airport is outside the Charlotte flight plan, which economic developers often laud as the facility’s best marketing strategy.
Normally, general aviation planes that land and take off at regional airports closer to Charlotte can spend expensive time on the ground burning fuel, while planes at Rowan are “in, out and gone,” RowanWorks Executive Director Robert Van Geons has said.
Temporary flight restrictions are typically effective for a few days or weeks and are often issued to prohibit flights near the president’s destination when he travels outside Washington, D.C.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.