Detroit Ponders Downtown Airport Future
The City of Detroit is considering closing Coleman A. Young Municipal Airport, saying the financial drain isn't sustainable. The airport is on Detroit's east side and has long been eyed for redevelopment. Its current financial status has city officials thinking it might not be a bad idea. The airport will lose about $1.3 million this year and it's lost money the last two years. “You can’t continue with the status quo,” Jed Howbert, executive director of Duggan’s jobs and economy team, told The Detroit News. “We’re going to let the facts lead us where they lead us. Whether it should be aviation — general or commercial — or something else, we need to understand what the options are.”
Experts are being brought in to see if the future of the prime real estate should continue to be aviation-related or other uses, including something that might be in demand in Detroit. One of the developments considered is a testing ground for self-driving cars and drones. There is considerable opposition to the notion of closing the field. “A city the size of Detroit having an international airport within its city boundaries is a rare asset,” District 3 Councilman Scott Benson, who represents the east side, told the News. He said he'd like to see the airport promoted with an eye to resuming commercial air service. The last airliner landed at the field more than 15 years ago and all scheduled service goes into Detroit Metropolitan Airport west of the city.