"The nature of the beast" is the question for Judge Robert Ervin, who will hear arguments about Charlotte Douglas International Airport Friday in a Mecklenburg County courtroom.
Ousted Charlotte airport director Jerry Orr has been a king without a kingdom these last few months, waiting for federal regulators to hand control of the airport over to the commission he now leads.
But the FAA is waiting for the court to clarify whether the Commission is an autonomous entity or a just a new agency of the city.
The bill that created the commission seems pretty clear:"There is created the Charlotte Douglas International Airport Commission, which shall be an agency of the City."
But the city's attorney's point to other sections that aren't so clear. And they argue that the commission is given so much power as to be virtually beyond the city's reach.
If the city is right, then the commission could be in for a long legal plod to get certified by the FAA to run the airport as a standalone entity. If the commission's attorneys are right, then the Orr and his 13-member commission board could begin operating the airport right away, under the city's existing permits and FAA authority.
Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin will hear arguments – and may even rule on the case – Friday, Nov. 1 at 10 a.m.