Doctors Pressured On Airport Closure

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Doctors who work for University of North Carolina's Area Health Education Center (AHEC) say they've been pressured to not oppose the university's plan to close the on-campus airport that allows them quick deployment to far-flung areas of the state. The university wants to close Horace Williams Airport to make way for a new research center, but the doctors say moving the airplanes they use for their medical outreach programs to Raleigh-Durham International will take up valuable time. AOPA paraphrased one doctor as telling a state legislative committee that supporting the airport could negatively affect his career. He was among about a dozen people who spoke at a joint appropriations committee hearing on the airport closure last week. Closing the airport is considered a major step in the university's fulfilling its closure plans, something AOPA has been fighting for two years. "It's clear that this airport is a vital asset to the community, AHEC and the university," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "These doctors aren't in an easy position, yet they are standing up for Horace Williams because it provides them the fastest response time for medical flights."