Merrill: Should look at taking over FBO ourselves |

Merrill: Should look at taking over FBO ourselves

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Jackie and I are writing to ask you to consider deeply the nature and purpose of local government in our Aspen community as it relates to future management of the Fixed Base Operation that serves Aspen Airport’s private planes.  

Many of you know Jackie served on the Vision Committee, and Jay served on the Airport Experience Committee. We entered the process to serve our community with open hearts and minds. During the process, we became knowledgeable about the many issues that confront our government as it seeks to make long-term decisions about a critical part of our economic futures. 

As the process unfolded, it became clear that private-aircraft usage is the airport’s core activity. Further, that activity entirely impacts the commercial operations. I well know, as on many occasions, I was left in Denver when private traffic made my commercial landing either impossible or heavily-delayed. Frankly, a terrible way for our visitors to arrive and leave Aspen. 

We advocate that the question of our government taking back its delegated authority over the FBO be deeply discussed and become the preferred alternative. We can see no other way for the deeply important issues of private aircraft use of the airport to be dealt with in the systemic way needed for the highest and best use of the airport for all users. The issues are simply too big for a commercial operation based only on its economic success. Only local government can prioritize the competing interests of a system as complex as ours with the “Public Good” as its highest metric. 

The reality that we can govern the airport’s development through the direct management of the FBO and that we’d choose not to do so seems frankly incredible.  

We understand the enormous changes occurring in aircraft development and the further evolutions to come. It seems wrong that we wouldn’t be in control of making decisions for our good that evolve along with these developments.  

We have deep appreciation for our government and the way it has gone about finding the best systemic way forward for the airport. We believe that in our small mountain town, we have some of the greatest minds and spirits in America today – if not the globe!

Why not ask those minds to join with our neighbors in local government to take on the responsibility? Why leave the economic goals of a stranger corporation to the complex systems issues we can best determine for ourselves?  Have we the courage to take this on?  

Jackie Merrill and Jay Hughes