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Mayor Jackson's high-flying plans; Burke to remain an airport

12:41 PM, Sep 20, 2007   |    comments
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It's part of an ambitious plan for Cleveland's airports rolled out by Mayor Frank Jackson and Airport Director Ricky Smith. The announcement came at a luncheon of 200-plus business and political leaders at Jones Day. Mayor Jackson announced he's seeking to rally support behind a regional approach to transportation, linking highway, port, highway and airport planners. But the Mayor is not budging on suggestions he permit Cleveland to be part of a Regional Airport Authority that might oversee aviation planning at all Northeast Ohio airports. Jackson said, "I don't know any company that would take one of their strongest and most profitable arms of the business and just give it away. We do intend to work with others to benefit from our operations." The plan envisions an "airopolis" at Hopkins Airport, developing up to 600 acres of property on and surrounding the facility. And plans to remake the Route 237 approach to the airport are in the works. Burke will remain a general service airport. A consultant's report on Burke's future is due later this year. But Smith said, development at the east and western ends of the airport and across the shoreway would likely not include residential properties. He envisioned stores, offices and restaurants. The decision to keep Burke an airport will be relayed to the Federal Aviation Administration. Continental Airlines President Jeff Smisek urged business people to fly their hometown airport and airline. "Don't go to Akron-Canton," he pleaded. Smisek said Hopkins needs all the travellers it can get to sustain its expansion plans and added flights. Smisek praised Jackson and Smith for their handling of Hopkins planning and operations. New ticket counters and a new international boarding area are also on the way.

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