Peninsula Airport Commission board members and airport executives said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne is misinterpreting state policies in calling foul at the use of $3.55 million of state taxpayer funds to help repay a loan.
The statements came during a special meeting on Tuesday at the airport. At the heart of the discussion was the repayment of a multi-million dollar loan made to People Express Airlines in 2014. The startup ceased operations later that year.
Some members also blamed reporting about the loan payment and use of the funds, as well as Layne's decision to cut off state funds, for Elite Airways' decision to postpone starting service from Newport News/Williamsburg International. The airline said Monday night it was doing so "due to the challenging perceptions surrounding" the airport. The airline was originally scheduled to begin flights in March.
"I don't think I've misunderstood anything," Layne said when reached by phone Tuesday night. "I think the misunderstanding is about the fiduciary responsibility of the commission."
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