Local News

UNC's Horace Williams Airport To Cease Operations

Posted April 30, 2002

— Citing budgetary and other concerns, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser has announced that the university will close its Horace Williams Airport.

Moeser says closing the airport will save the university millions of dollars.

"I hope that this will be seen, in fact, by members of the General Assembly, the governor and others who are struggling with balancing the budget that this university is making a tangible commitment to fiscal restraint, cost avoidance as well as savings," he says.

Moeser also says the university wants to be a good neighbor to residents who live nearby.

"We have been somewhat concerned when we have had jets landing at the airport," said Emma McAdams who lives near the airport. "Sometimes, there is an odor of fuel. There have been a couple of accidents."

The airport's future status had been up in the air in part because of long-standing community concerns about safety and clear-cutting.

"With the exit of the

Chapel Hill Flying Club

, which we did to improve the safety of the airport, the airport no longer covers its operating costs," Moeser says.

The airport is also a key component of a 900-acre parcel of university-owned property that is the focus of potential future mixed-use development through a project called

Carolina North

.

"We have just started a new visionary process for the future of Carolina North, a process that we hope will be very open and transparent and will involve the university's academic communities as well as surrounding local communities," Moeser says.

UNC has operated the airport since the 1940s. It has continued operating over the years primarily to support the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program, based at the UNC School of Medicine. The program transports faculty across North Carolina to provide specialty clinics and educational programs designed to improve the quality of health care for state citizens.

There is no timetable as to when the airport will cease its operations.

Related Links:

Horace Williams Airport

Horace Williams Master Plan

July 30, 2001:

Chapel Hill Club 'Flies' To New Home

June 4, 1999:

Small Plane Crashes near Horace Williams Airport

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