Detroit's Old City Airport Crumbles; Can It Be Revived?

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Southwest Airlines' Shamu One taxis into Detroit City
Southwest Airlines' Shamu One taxis into Detroit City Airport in May 1988..  George Waldman, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe Bakst family watch the Pro Air 737 which has their
The Bakst family watch the Pro Air 737 which has their sister on it leave for Philadelphia at City Airport in Detroit in June 1998.   David P. Gilkey, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenA private jet takes off from Coleman A. Young International
A private jet takes off from Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Thursday, April 5, 2018. The Traffic Control tower is in the background.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenA flight school where pilots received their licenses
A flight school where pilots received their licenses is abandoned at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenOne of the largest hangars in the executive terminal
One of the largest hangars in the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe air traffic control tower at the main terminal
The air traffic control tower at the main terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenA runway at the Coleman A. Young International Airport
A runway at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAn Air Eagle turbo prop taxies to the hangar in the
An Air Eagle turbo prop taxies to the hangar in the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Thursday, April 5, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe Detroit Police Aviation Services hangar at the
The Detroit Police Aviation Services hangar at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International
The executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenMark Roisen, a mechanic for Aviation Center in Ann
Mark Roisen, a mechanic for Aviation Center in Ann Arbor, works on an aircraft with engine trouble at City Airport in Detroit on April 3, 2018. The mechanics had to be called in because the airport does not have mechanical services.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenTree branches poke through an abandoned aircraft at
Tree branches poke through an abandoned aircraft at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International
The executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe main terminal at the Coleman A. Young International
The main terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAn abandoned plane in ruin at the Coleman A. Young
An abandoned plane in ruin at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018., 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenA Range Rover s next to a Lear 40 jet in a hangar in
A Range Rover s next to a Lear 40 jet in a hangar in the executive terminal run by Air Eagle at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAn upstairs office in a hangar is strewn with debris
An upstairs office in a hangar is strewn with debris in the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe Coleman A Young Municipal airport in April 2014
The Coleman A Young Municipal airport in April 2014 in Detroit.  Jarrad Henderson, Jarrad Henderson>FullscreenThe inside of the executive terminal at the Coleman
The inside of the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit has been gutted and where dead bird carcasses line the gravel floor on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe inside of the executive terminal at the Coleman
The inside of the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit has been gutted and where dead bird carcasses line the gravel floor on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenA Beech 390 sits in of the largest hangars in the executive
A Beech 390 sits in of the largest hangars in the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenExecutive Director Dave Tarrant off the Coleman A.
Executive Director Dave Tarrant off the Coleman A. Young International Airport Education Association opens the door to the T hangar where Eximious Flying Club keeps a Piper Archer plane at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenEximious Flying Club keeps a Piper Archer plane in
Eximious Flying Club keeps a Piper Archer plane in a T hangar where it is getting an annual inspection and maintenance at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAn abandoned plane in ruin at the Coleman A. Young
An abandoned plane in ruin at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenThe fire station with two working trucks inside an
The fire station with two working trucks inside an unmanned fire rescue station at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAircraft are stored in hangar two of the executive
Aircraft are stored in hangar two of the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAn abandoned boat in a dilapidated T-hangar at the
An abandoned boat in a dilapidated T-hangar at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenSome of the T hangars just need to be cleaned out and
Some of the T hangars just need to be cleaned out and are ready for use at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit in disrepair on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenOne of the T hangars at the Coleman A. Young International
One of the T hangars at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenT-hangars are in need of repair like this one that
T-hangars are in need of repair like this one that caught fire at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAircraft are stored in hangar two of the executive
Aircraft are stored in hangar two of the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenSenior Director of Business Planning Keith R. Newell
Senior Director of Business Planning Keith R. Newell for the Coleman A. Young International Airport Education Association looks out a window at the airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenAircrafts are stored in hangar two of the executive
Aircrafts are stored in hangar two of the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenMichael A. Zabkiewicz, general manager of Air Eagle,
Michael A. Zabkiewicz, general manager of Air Eagle, runs the flight business out of a hangar in the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.  Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press>FullscreenPlanes used by Detroit industry executives inside a
Planes used by Detroit industry executives inside a hanger at DetroitÕs City Airport on Jan. 25, 1963. Cars of executives parked near planes while they flown have off on business.   Preston Stroup, AP>FullscreenPresident John F. Kennedy takes a telephone call at
President John F. Kennedy takes a telephone call at a special installation at Detroit's City Airport Oct. 6, 1962, before boarding a helicopter for a flight to Flint.   AP>Fullscreen

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    DETROIT -- The City of Detroit recently turned down a $4-million offer from private investors to build a modern terminal and hangars at the long-neglected Coleman A. Young International Airport as Mayor Mike Duggan's team raised the idea of closing the airfield permanently.

    The rejection of the offer from Avflight, the fixed-base operator at the east-side airfield still best known as Detroit City Airport, came amid complaints from airport advocates that the city is needlessly letting a potential asset deteriorate.

    Among other signs of neglect, the city hasn't staffed a Detroit Fire Department station on airport grounds for many years, which prevents some business aircraft from landing there because of insurance concerns. Nor has the city applied for a variety of multimillion-dollar federal and state grants that could help pay for needed upgrades to runways.

    The airport doesn't even have its own website, and the city does little or no marketing of the airfield.

    Carl Muhs, president of Avflight, an Ann Arbor-based firm that operates multiple airports in the U.S. and Britain, said he offered in 2016 to spend up to $4 million at City Airport to build a new terminal and hangars to accommodate larger corporate jets, but only if the city granted Avflight the security of a multiyear lease.

    The city for many years had not offered leases to tenant firms at the airport, keeping them on month-to-month status that could be revoked at any time.

    “We had been working on a lease for quite a while and then got to the very end where it was due to be signed and it was pulled off the table,” Muhs said. “(The city) said, ‘We’re going to take another look at the airport and decide what direction we want to go in.’ So we’ve been on hold for quite a while out there." (story continues below)

    >

    Mark Roisen, a mechanic for Aviation Center in Ann Arbor, works on an aircraft with engine trouble at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. The mechanics had to be called in because the airport does not have mechanical services. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

    ARCHIVESThe 'boneyard': Where airlines send old planes to be scrapped

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPhotos: Riding a retiring jetliner to the airline 'boneyard'> Fullscreen

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    The remains of a Thai Airways Airbus A300 are seen
    The remains of a Thai Airways Airbus A300 are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight
    The view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight 9780 is en route from Dallas/Fort Worth to Roswell, N.M., on Dec. 4, 2015. It was the retirement flight for the American MD-80 (tail number N585AA).  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight
    The view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight 9780 lands at Roswell N.M., on its retirement flight from Dallas/Fort Worth on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight
    The view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight 9780 lands at Roswell N.M., on its retirement flight from Dallas/Fort Worth on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight
    The view from the cockpit as American Airlines Flight 9780 lands at Roswell N.M., on its retirement flight from Dallas/Fort Worth on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe five people  (2 pilots, 2 American corporate employees
    The spartan crew on this retirement flight exited via the MD-80’s tailcone stairs after it  arrived at Roswell N.M., on its retirement flight from Dallas/Fort Worth on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is
    An American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” moments after arriving on its retirement flight on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is
    An American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” moments after arriving on its retirement flight on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenPlanes being raided for parts are seen at the Roswell
    Planes being raided for parts are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is
    An American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” moments after arriving on its retirement flight on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenA retired American Airlines aircraft is seen at the
    A retired American Airlines aircraft is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenWhat's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is seen at the Roswell
    What's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is
    An American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” moments after arriving on its retirement flight on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is
    An American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” moments after arriving on its retirement flight on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is
    An American Airlines MD-80 (tail number N585AA) is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” moments after arriving on its retirement flight on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenParts -- and planes being raided for parts -- are seen
    Parts -- and planes being raided for parts -- are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe remains of scrapped aircraft are seen at the Roswell
    The remains of scrapped aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on
    Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe remains of scrapped aircraft are seen at the Roswell
    The remains of scrapped aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe remains of scrapped aircraft are seen at the Roswell
    The remains of scrapped aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenPlane parts being scrapped at the Roswell “boneyard”
    Plane parts being scrapped at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenPlane parts being scrapped at the Roswell “boneyard”
    Plane parts being scrapped at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn idled aircraft is seen at the Roswell “boneyard”
    An idled aircraft is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenA retired American Airlines aircraft -- its branding
    A retired American Airlines aircraft -- its branding obscured --- is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenSome Boeing 747s are among the idled aircraft at the
    Some Boeing 747s are among the idled aircraft at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on
    Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on
    Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenA retired American Airlines aircraft -- its branding
    A retired American Airlines aircraft -- its branding obscured --- is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on
    Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled American Airlines aircraft -- their branding
    Idled American Airlines aircraft -- their branding obscured --- are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn idled aircraft is seen amid scattered airplane parts
    An idled aircraft is seen amid scattered airplane parts at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn idled aircraft is seen at the Roswell “boneyard”
    An idled aircraft is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell
    An idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell
    An idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell
    An idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAn idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell
    An idled American Airlines MD-80 is seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenPlanes -- and pieces of planes -- are seen at the Roswell
    Planes -- and pieces of planes -- are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAmerican Airlines Capt. Pat Walsh takes in the sight
    American Airlines Capt. Pat Walsh takes in the sight of retired planes at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on
    Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenWhat's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is at the Roswell
    What's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenSpare plane parts are big business at Idled aircraft
    Spare plane parts are big business at Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard."  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenBirds eerily make themselves at home amid idled aircraft
    Birds eerily make themselves at home amid idled aircraft at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenWhat's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is at the Roswell
    What's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenWhat's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is at the Roswell
    What's left of a Scoot Boeing 777 is at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled American Airlines aircraft are seen with their
    Idled American Airlines aircraft are seen with their branding obscured at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe cabin was empty for the Dec. 4, 2015, departure
    The cabin was empty for the Dec. 4, 2015, departure of American Airlines Flight 9780 from Dallas/Fort Worth to Roswell, N.M. It was the retirement flight for the American MD-80 (tail number N585AA).  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe cabin was empty for the Dec. 4, 2015, departure
    The cabin was empty for the Dec. 4, 2015, departure of American Airlines Flight 9780 from Dallas/Fort Worth to Roswell, N.M. It was the retirement flight for the American MD-80 (tail number N585AA).  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenAmerican Airlines Flight 9780 departs Dallas/Fort Worth
    American Airlines Flight 9780 departs Dallas/Fort Worth for Roswell, N.M., on Dec. 4, 2015. It was the retirement flight for the American MD-80 (tail number N585AA).  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThis red 1962 Lockheed JetStar JT 12-5 once flew Elvis,
    This red 1962 Lockheed JetStar JT 12-5 once flew Elvis, according to American’s staff at Roswell.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on
    Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenIdled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on
    Idled aircraft are seen at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenA bus stop adjacent to the Roswell "boneyard" plays
    A bus stop adjacent to the Roswell "boneyard" plays right along with the aviation them.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThere's also a regular passenger airline terminal adjacent
    There's also a regular passenger airline terminal adjacent to the boneyard.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe sun sets behind idled aircraft at the Roswell “boneyard”
    The sun sets behind idled aircraft at the Roswell “boneyard” on Dec. 4, 2015.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>Fullscreen

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      Such moves fuel concerns for the airport's future. For against the hope and promise of a revitalized City Airport stands the allure of freeing up the airfield’s 264 acres for other uses, such as an industrial park, which Duggan has suggested might bring many more jobs to the city.

      That possibility is now under study, and Duggan's team maintains that until a formal decision on the site's future is made, it made no sense to move ahead with the Avflight offer or other improvements.

      Jed Howbert, Duggan’s group executive for Planning, Housing and Development, said the administration at this point is trying to gather facts for further discussion.

      “It’s a big assembled piece of property in a city that doesn’t have a lot of them,” Howbert said in an interview. “The basic question we’re asking is, how do you maximize the benefit of the airport to the people of Detroit?”

      Howbert said there are several options, including spending money to restore the airport in whole or part; closing the shorter of the airport’s two runways and using that land for other economic development; and closing the airport altogether and redeveloping the land.

      “We want to get to a point where we have a common fact-based discussion on how those various scenarios compare to each other in terms of jobs, other benefits to the city, neighborhood impact, cost to execute them,” Howbert said. “It should be something you can summarize on one sheet of paper and then go talk about them.”

      But Howbert sounded skeptical of the airport’s future.

      “The reality is that it loses money, there’s not many jobs on site, and it’s not very actively used by planes that are based there," he said. "So it’s hard to make an argument that, as an asset today, that’s it’s delivering commensurate with what it should be, given how much land it is in the city.”

      Because of City Airport’s problems, flight operations have steadily declined in recent years, from 45,233 takeoffs and landings in 2014 to 37,264 last year, Federal Aviation Administration data reports show.

      LIST: The world's 20 busiest airports, 2017 (story continues below)

      FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInThe world's busiest airports (2017)> Fullscreen

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      20. Denver (DEN): 61,379,396. Rank in 2016: 18th.
      20. Denver (DEN): 61,379,396. Rank in 2016: 18th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Arina Habich, Getty Images/iStockphoto>Fullscreen19. Seoul/Incheon (ICN): 62,157,834 (up 7.5%). Rank
      19. Seoul/Incheon (ICN): 62,157,834 (up 7.5%). Rank in 2016: 20th.(Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  June Yeon-Je, AFP/Getty Images>Fullscreen18. Singapore Changi (SIN): 62,220,000 (up 6%). Rank
      18. Singapore Changi (SIN): 62,220,000 (up 6%). Rank in 2016: 17th.(Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special for USA TODAY>Fullscreen17. Jakarta/Soekarno-Hatta (CGK): 63,015,620 (up 8.3%).
      17. Jakarta/Soekarno-Hatta (CGK): 63,015,620 (up 8.3%). Rank in 2016: 19th.(Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Bay Ismoyo, AFP/Getty Images>Fullscreen16. New Delhi (DEL): 63,451,503 (up 14.1%). Rank in
      16. New Delhi(DEL): 63,451,503 (up 14.1%). Rank in 2016: 22nd. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Instants, Getty Images/iStockphoto>Fullscreen15. Istanbul Atatürk (IST): 63,872,283 (up 6%). Rank
      15. Istanbul Atatürk (IST): 63,872,283 (up 6%). Rank in 2016: 14th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Bulent Kilic, AFP/Getty Images>Fullscreen14. Frankfurt (FRA): 64,500,386 (up 6.1%). Rank in
      14. Frankfurt (FRA): 64,500,386 (up 6.1%). Rank in 2016: 13th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Nicolas Armer, AP>Fullscreen13. Guangzhou, China (CAN): 65,887,473 (up 10.3%).
      13. Guangzhou, China (CAN): 65,887,473 (up 10.3%). Rank in 2016: 15th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  ziggy_mars, Getty Images/iStockphoto>Fullscreen12. Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW): 67,092,194 (up 2.3%).
      12. Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW): 67,092,194 (up 2.3%). Rank in 2016: 11th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Daniel Slim, AFP/Getty Images>Fullscreen11. Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS): 68,515,425 (up 7.7%).
      11. Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS): 68,515,425 (up 7.7%). Rank in 2016: 12th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Lex van Lieshout, EPA>Fullscreen10. Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG): 70,001,237 (up 6.1%). Rank
      10. Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG): 70,001,237 (up 6.1%).Rank in 2016: 10th.(Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>Fullscreen10. Shanghai Pudong (PVG): 70,001,237 (up 6.1%). Rank
      9. Shanghai Pudong (PVG): 70,001,237 (up 6.1%). Rank in 2016: 9th.(Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Peter Parks, AFP/Getty Images>Fullscreen8. Hong Kong (HKG): 72,663,955 (up 3.4%). Rank in 2016:
      8. Hong Kong (HKG): 72,663,955 (up 3.4%). Rank in 2016: 8th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>Fullscreen7. London Heathrow (LHR): 78,014,598 (up 3%). Rank
      7. London Heathrow (LHR): 78,014,598 (up 3%). Rank in 2016: 7th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Justin Tallis, AFP/Getty Images>Fullscreen6. Chicago O'Hare (ORD): 79,828,183 (up 2.4%). Rank
      6. Chicago O'Hare (ORD): 79,828,183 (up 2.4%). Rank in 2016: 6th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>Fullscreen5. Los Angeles (LAX): 84,557,968 (up 4.5%). Rank in
      5. Los Angeles (LAX): 84,557,968 (up 4.5%). Rank in 2016: 4th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>Fullscreen4. Tokyo Haneda (HND): 85,408,975 (up 6.5%). Rank in
      4. Tokyo Haneda (HND): 85,408,975 (up 6.5%). Rank in 2016: 5th. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Kazuhiro Nogi, AFP/Getty Images>Fullscreen3. Dubai International (DXB): 88,242,099 (up 5.5%).
      3. Dubai International (DXB): 88,242,099 (up 5.5%). Rank in 2016: 3rd. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>Fullscreen2. Beijing (PEK): 95,786,442 passengers (up 1.5%).
      2. Beijing (PEK): 95,786,442 passengers (up 1.5%). Rank in 2016: 2nd. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  Andy Wong, AP>Fullscreen1. Atlanta (ATL): 103,902,992 passengers (down 0.3%).
      1. Atlanta (ATL): 103,902,992 passengers (down 0.3%). Rank in 2016: 1st. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  David Goldman, AP>Fullscreen1. Atlanta (ATL): 103,902,992 passengers.
      1. Atlanta (ATL): 103,902,992 passengers (down 0.3%). Rank in 2016: 1st. (Data: Airports Council International, for full-year 2017)  David Goldman, AP>Fullscreen

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        The city says the airport loses around $1 million a year, though about half of that loss stems from a water drainage fee that the city charges, but since it’s city property no money is actually changing hands. Advocates for the airport point out that many types of public infrastructure lose money but deliver broader economic benefits.

        Federal complications

        Yet given how difficult it is to actually close an airport — the Federal Aviation Authority can take years, if not decades, to approve a closure — advocates say the city ought to move ahead with a vigorous airport revitalization plan now.

        Among others, the Detroit City Council has expressed its support for revitalizing the airport many times in recent years.

        "I can say that I have made it clear I DO NOT SUPPORT CLOSING THE AIRPORT!!!," Council Member Scott Benson told the Free Press in an e-mail. "I will also continue to advocate for investment in this City asset, as it can and will become a huge economic development engine for the City and region once we (the City) start to make even the basic investments to keep it in a state of good repair."

        >

        Executive Director Dave Tarrant of the Coleman A. Young International Airport Education Association, opens up the door to the T hangar where Eximious Flying Club keeps a Piper Archer plane at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        The nonprofit Coleman A. Young International Airport Education Association, consisting of community advocates, corporate executives, recreational flyers and other fans of the airport, believes significant new business for City Airport is just waiting on some signal from Duggan’s team that the city will prioritize airport revitalization.

        “The thing is, we know we are 100% certain that at the end of the day this airport will be saved because there will not be a better choice,” said Dave Tarrant, the group's executive director. “We just have to get the political forces to reach that conclusion.”

        The airport was a pioneer in big-city airfields when it opened in 1927, and it remained thronged with commercial airline passengers as recently as about 20 years ago. But today it remains badly underused, its landscape dotted with derelict structures.

        Its main hangars date to the 1940s and remain too small to house today’s largest corporate jets. Of about 130 smaller so-called T-hangers — garage-like structures that house small private aircraft — fewer than half are in use and dozens have fallen into such disrepair as to be unusable.

        Needed maintenance has been neglected for years. At one spot on the perimeter of the airfield, a broken-down airplane has settled in place for so many years that trees have grown up within inches of it. The airport’s two runways remain in active use but are overdue for maintenance work.

        >

        Tree branches poke through an abandoned aircraft at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        Quick fixes available

        Advocates of revitalizating City Airport point to low-cost fixes that could almost instantly unlock the airport's hidden value. Some of the most helpful of the changes would cost the city almost nothing. One is to offer long-term leases to airport tenants who rent hangars and other facilities.

        Longer leases: Detroit refuses to give any of the private firms operating at the airport anything but month-to-month status. Firms like Avflight, which fuels planes, cuts grass, plows snow and does other operational chores, say they are willing to pump new investment into facilities but cannot as long as the city denies them the stability of a long-term lease.

        Air Eagle, a firm that operates two business-class planes from the airport, also expresses frustration over the city's lack of willingness to consider longer leases. Michael A. Zabkiewicz, general manager and chief pilot of Air Eagle, said it’s not possible to risk spending millions of dollars on facilities that they could be told to vacate on short notice.

        >

        Michael A. Zabkiewicz, general manager of Air Eagle, runs the flight business out of a hangar in the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit, photographed on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        “You know, it’s to the point now where it’s almost a joke,” Zabkiewicz said. “There’s no point to even bother to ask because we already known what the answer is going to be. … It’s one of those things where why put the effort into something that will never happen.”

        By comparison, the Jackson County Airport in Jackson grants firms up to 40-year leases at the airport, as well as the right to sublease their space.

        “You just have to make yourself attractive to people,” said Kent Maurer, the airport manager there. 

        Detroit’s City Council passed a resolution earlier this year asking the Duggan administration to consider granting longer term leases to operators like Avflight and Air Eagle. So far, the administration hasn’t done so.

        Tarrant of the nonprofit airport educational association said the lack of longer term leases reflects the city's lack of commitment to the airport's future.

        “Just by telling the world it’s open for business and will be sustained, by itself, plus the long-term leases, those two acts would turn everything around right now,” Tarrant said. “It’s just management will and commitment. That’s what’s so frustrating about this. We know how to fix it, it can be fixed, the resources are there to fix it. It’s just management will and commitment.”

        RAW VIDEODelta's last Boeing 747 makes low pass over Arizona 'boneyard'

        Federal grants: The highest cost estimate for revitalizing the airport is $83 million for restoring commercial airline service — the price tag for upgrading runways, building new terminal and parking facilities and other improvements. But even if the city went that far, almost none of that cost would be borne by the City of Detroit itself.

        The FAA, as part of its role in maintaining a national airport network, would pay most of the cost through grants. The State of Michigan would pay part of the remainder. 

        The Jackson County Airport last year completed rebuilding its runways for $49 million. But the federal government paid $39 million of that and Michigan paid another $2.6 million. Of the roughly $7.7 million Jackson County had to contribute, almost all of that went to relocate a landfill to make room for the new runway.

        Duggan’s office recently released a report from an aviation consultant called GRA Inc., based near Philadelphia, on the likely cost of revitalizing City Airport. Even that GRA report noted that almost all the cost of upgrades would be borne by federal or state agencies.

        One scenario outlined in the GRA report looked at spending up to $50 million on new facilities; it estimated that Detroit would have to cover just $2.8 million of that.

        >

        Eximious Flying Club keeps a Piper Archer plane in a T hangar at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        The FAA and state grants are competitive and not always awarded when first applied for. But Mauer of the Jackson Airport said that good plans will be funded eventually. Detroit has not aggressively pursued such grants for City Airport, angering supporters.

        Marketing: City Airport doesn’t even have its own website, nor does the city market the airport as a gateway.

        By contrast, the Jackson County Airport operates a website that offers a wealth of easy-to-find information, including phone numbers and e-mails for airport personnel, consumer tips about car rentals, technical data for pilots such as radio frequencies in use by the airport, postings of job openings, photographs of award winners and volunteers, calendar of events, financial information and more.

        Maurer said Jackson County leaders understand the value of the airport near the city’s center and support it.

        “They’re not building any new airports almost anywhere, and if you’re going to build them you’re not going to build them anywhere close to a populated area,” he said.

        Muhs of the Avflight operation echoed that.

        “Years ago, train stations were the front door to a community. Now it’s airports,” he said. And in the future, as drone delivery and other airborne mobility options flourish, “it’s going to be that much more important that those airports exist.”

        Another possible model is Lunken Field in Cincinnati, which like City Airport first operated in the 1920s and for many years served as Cincinnati's main airport. Today commercial airline traffic flies from the much larger Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, but private and corporate aircraft still use Lunken.

        In 2009, the Ultimate Air Shuttle began flying from Lunken with a flight to Chicago's Midway Airport, and has since added shuttle flights to New York, Charlotte and Cleveland.

        >

        The fire station with two working trucks inside an unmanned fire rescue station at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        Firefighting and education

        The Detroit Fire Department used to operate a small station on airport grounds with two trucks to deal with runway crashes. But the city pulled firefighters out of that station many years ago, electing to depend on fire equipment coming from nearby stations in case of a runway emergency.

        But that arrangement has more than safety implications. Some business flyers who may otherwise use City Airport are prevented from doing so by their insurers, who insist the planes be based at a field with on-site fire and rescue protection.

        “The guys with the big corporate planes, they may want to land there, but they’re not allowed to,” said Keith Newell, director of business planning for the Coleman A. Young International Airport Educational Association.

        >

        Senior Director of Business Planning Keith R. Newell at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell said plans are underway to restaff the station on airport grounds later this year, but only for an eight-hour shift each day. Even now, he said, adequate protection is provided by the off-site fire units based at the nearby Fire Academy.

        But Michael Nevin, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, said an eight-hour shift doesn’t go nearly far enough to ensure safety at an airport that could be used around the clock.

        "That place should be manned 24/7," he said. "It ridiculous that they closed it. But now that we're seeing a spike in air traffic and the city coming back, they need to reinvest in that fire house and train people and reboot the airport division."

        From the 1940s until 2013, Detroit Public Schools operated the Benjamin Davis Aerospace Technical High School immediately adjacent to the airport. Training courses at the school once gave graduating seniors an FAA certificate as an aircraft technician — a ticket to a high-paying career.

        But DPS abandoned the school in 2013, transferring classes to the Golightly Career and Technical Center off East Jefferson Avenue on the far east side. In the process of transferring classes, DPS lost much of the equipment and material needed for the curriculum. Unable to offer the FAA-required courses, the school voluntarily surrendered its FAA certificate in 2014.

        Lawrence Millben, the first African-American youth to graduate from the high school and a retired colonel in the Air Force, is among many who want to see the school returned to its former site adjacent to the airport and FAA certification to train technicians returned.

        "We are working diligently to get it back to the airport," he said. "Kids coming out of Davis Aerospace (could) come out with an FAA certification that would allow them to make $80,000 a year to start. Why are we taking that away from the kids of Detroit when we know we can make them productive, tax-paying citizens? Skills in that area are nationally needed."

        >

        The inside of the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit has been gutted and where dead bird carcasses line the gravel floor on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        Private-public partnership?

        Perhaps the biggest potential change would come if Duggan spins off direct control of the airport from the city’s small Department of Aviation to a nonprofit public authority or conservancy. In similar ways, Cobo Center, Eastern Market and other entities owned by the city are now operated by nonprofit boards and professional management.

        Such spinoffs often prove controversial, such as the state’s takeover of Belle Isle during the city’s bankruptcy period. But they often prove effective.

        The once-failing Cobo, Eastern Market and other spinoffs saw immediate improvements once they were put into new management structures. Cobo, owned by the city but run since 2009 by a regional authority, completed a nearly $300-million expansion and upgrade that thoroughly updated the aging facility.

        And Eastern Market likewise pumped millions of philanthropic dollars into renovating its market sheds and added a host of new vendors and programs once spun off from direct city control in 2006. Even Belle Isle, now operated as a state park, showed marked improvements in maintenance and recreational offerings under its new management.

        Such public authorities offer have access to funding sources unavailable to the city itself. And management devoted solely to that one operation can often focus attention and efforts, not get lost in the larger municipal bureaucracy.

        Duggan has spoken against such spinoffs, arguing that he cannot control outcomes without having direct control of a function. But numerous airports in the U.S., including Detroit Metro and Jackson County Airport, are managed by some type of airport authority. Many advocates for City Airport said a new management structure is needed to turn around the airport’s declining fortunes.

        >

        Aircraft are stored in hangar two of the executive terminal at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        Job opportunities?

        When Duggan’s staffers talk about possibly closing the airport, they cite the recent success of the city’s I-94 Industrial Park. That roughly 200-acre site, a former east-side residential neighborhood cleared out in the 1990s, recently filled up with new industrial users including the Flex-N-Gate auto supplier, which is bringing hundreds of jobs to the city. Duggan’s team believes City Airport land would find new users quickly.

        “If we can deliver large site-ready sites that have infrastructure, there’s been proven demand over the last couple of years to build that, and the jobs numbers are pretty attractive,” Howbert said.

        Against that possibility lies the value that a revitalized City Airport might bring. As Detroit’s comeback plans advance and as downtown grows as a hub serving the corporate, sports and entertainment fields, an airfield just minutes away could prove valuable.

        Corporate executives like John Nicholson, son of PVS Chemicals President and CEO James Nicholson, supports revitalizing the airport.

        “We feel like it’s an underutilized asset with such potential being six miles from downtown,” he said. “It’d just be a shame to see it disappear and turn into factory sites when it has such potential.”

        And the airport already looms large for Macomb County and other east-side communities. Muhs of the Avflight fixed-base operation said at least a quarter of the air traffic using City Airport today carries business travelers heading to Warren for the General Motors Tech Center or the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, or TACOM.

        Without City Airport, those business travelers would have to use another airport more distant.

        If Duggan were to declare his intention to keep the airport open and restore it, that “would be the best thing we could hear,” Muhs said.

        >

        One of the T hangars at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

        What's next?

        If Duggan and his team do decide to close the airport and convert the 260-acres to an industrial park, they may find that easier said than done. The federal government though the FAA takes years to study potential airport closings and is reluctant to approve them. Each airfield represents a link in the nationwide network of safety, and once gone often cannot be replaced.

        The FAA recently agreed to close the Santa Monica, Calif., airport in 2028 — but only after some 30 years of debate and discord. In 1994, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he would close the lakefront Meigs Field downtown; almost 10 years later, Daley, frustrated by seemingly endless delays, order city crews to destroy the runway by bulldozing large gouges in it in the middle of the night.

        Duggan aide Howbert said he expects to have the next phase of the fact-finding report done by fall, with a discussion to follow.

        “We’ll look at any good idea that maximizes the benefit to Detroiters,” he said. “Airports get handled in a whole lot of different ways in other cities and states. If someone has a great idea that unlocks one of these scenarios, we are absolutely going to look at and listen to that idea.”

        Contact John Gallagher: 313-222-5173 or gallagher@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @jgallagherfreep.

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        A crew member writes a farewell after the last Boeing
        A crew member writes a farewell after the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenNewlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick wave after arriving
        Newlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick wave after arriving on Delta Air Lines' final Boeing 747 flight, in Marana, Ariz. on Jan. 3, 2018. The couple met working aboard the jumbo jet nine years ago on a military charter.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747-400 passenger jet
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747-400 passenger jet awaits its flight to the scrapyard on Jan. 3, 2018 in Atlanta. With its retirement, no U.S.-based passenger airline operates the Boeing 747 anymore.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilots Stephen Hanlon (left) and Paul Gallaher speak
        Pilots Stephen Hanlon (left) and Paul Gallaher speak to reporters before piloting the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenThe crew for the last Delta Air Lines Boeing 747 flight
        The crew for the last Delta Air Lines Boeing 747 flight pose for a group photo before departing Atlanta for a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on January 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilot Paul Gallaher boards the last Boeing 747 flight
        Pilot Paul Gallaher boards the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta on Jan. 3, 2018. Gallaher and the jet would both retire at the end of the flight.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilot Paul Gallaher checks the rooftop escape hatch
        Pilot Paul Gallaher checks the rooftop escape hatch aboard the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines in Atlanta on Jan. 3, 2018. Gallaher and the jet would both retire at the end of the flight.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilot Stephen Hanlon checks the wheels of a Boeing
        Pilot Stephen Hanlon checks the wheels of a Boeing 747-400 during a pre-flight inspection in Atlanta on Jan. 3, 2018. The flight was the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines, the last U.S. passenger airline to fly the jet.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA crew member dons a red Boeing 747 tie aboard the
        A crew member dons a red Boeing 747 tie aboard the last Delta Air Lines 747 flight on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilot Stephen Hanlon checks the avionics hatch on a
        Pilot Stephen Hanlon checks the avionics hatch on a Boeing 747-400 during a pre-flight inspection in Atlanta on Jan. 3, 2018. The flight was the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines, the last U.S. passenger carrier to fly the jet.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilot Stephen Hanlon checks the wheels of a Boeing
        Pilot Stephen Hanlon checks the wheels of a Boeing 747-400 during a pre-flight inspection in Atlanta on Jan. 3, 2018. The flight was the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines, , the last U.S. passenger carrier to fly the jet.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilots Stephen Hanlon (left) and Paul Gallaher run
        Pilots Stephen Hanlon (left) and Paul Gallaher run pre-flight checks in Atlanta aboard the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA goodbye note rotates on an engine spinner aboard
        A goodbye note rotates on an engine spinner aboard Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747-400 ahead of its final flight in Atlanta on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA note written on the tires wishes a safe landing to
        A note written on the tires wishes a safe landing to the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines. The jet was flown to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA flight attendant attaches flowers to rows of premium
        A flight attendant attaches flowers to rows of premium economy seating on board the final Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines. The airline celebrated with a wedding aboard the flight.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA flight attendant calls a colleague on the last Boeing
        A flight attendant calls a colleague on the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines on Jan. 3, 2018. The jet flew its final flight from Delta's Atlanta hub to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenThe last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines lines up on
        The last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines lines up on Atlanta's runway 9L for its final flight on Jan. 3, 2018. The jet flew to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenThe last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines lines up on
        The last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines lines up on Atlanta's runway 9L for its final flight on Jan. 3, 2018. The jet flew to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenThe last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines flies over
        The last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines flies over the U.S. Southeast during its final flight on Jan. 3, 2018. The jet flew to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA note scrawled on a bulkhead of Delta Air Lines' last
        A note scrawled on a bulkhead of Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flight congratulates the Buffalo Bills on their playoff berth. The jet had carried the team days earlier on a sports charter before making its final flight on Jan. 3, 2018 to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenThe last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines  climbs out
        The last Boeing 747 for Delta Air Lines climbs out of Atlanta's runway 9L for its final flight on Jan. 3, 2018. The jet flew to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA crew member watches out the window aboard the last
        A crew member watches out the window aboard the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenNewlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick kiss after tying
        Newlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick kiss after tying the knot aboard Delta Air Lines' final Boeing 747 flight, in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018. The couple met working aboard a 747 nine years ago on a military charter.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenNewlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick kiss after tying
        Newlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick kiss after tying the knot aboard Delta Air Lines' final Boeing 747 flight, in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018. The couple met working aboard a 747 nine years ago on a military charter.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenFlight attendants serve cupcakes after a wedding onboard
        Flight attendants serve cupcakes after a wedding onboard Delta's final Boeing 747 flight on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenNewlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick kiss after tying
        Newlyweds Gene Peterson and Holly Rick kiss after tying the knot aboard Delta Air Lines' final Boeing 747 flight, in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018. The couple met working aboard a 747 nine years ago on a military charter.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPassengers aboard the last Delta Air Lines Boeing 747
        Passengers aboard the last Delta Air Lines Boeing 747 flight share champagne to celebrate while en route to a scrapyard in Arizona on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenFormer Boeing 747 pilot Mike Vetter relaxes in business
        Former Boeing 747 pilot Mike Vetter relaxes in business class aboard the last flight of the jumbo jet for Delta Air Lines while en route to the scrapyard on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA crew member writes a missive to the 747 aboard the
        A crew member writes a missive to the 747 aboard the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA missive is written on a wall inside Delta Air Lines'
        A missive is written on a wall inside Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet on Jan. 3, 2018. The jet was retired for good in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest en route to its retirement in a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA flight attendant phone lists all the possible call
        A flight attendant phone lists all the possible call options aboard a Delta Air Lines Boeing 747-400. The jet was retired to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest en route to its retirement in a scrapyard in Marana, Arizona on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA crew member watches out the window aboard the last
        A crew member watches out the window aboard the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest en route to its retirement in a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest en route to its retirement in a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA TV screen in business class displays the rough course
        A TV screen in business class displays the rough course for Delta Air Lines' final Boeing 747 flight on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 completes its final
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 completes its final flight, performing a low pass over Pinal Airpark in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 completes its final
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 completes its final flight, performing a low pass over Pinal Airpark in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018. Numerous other recently retired Delta 747s can be seen in the background.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenA missive is written on a wall inside Delta Air Lines'
        A missive is written on a wall inside Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet on Jan. 3, 2018. The jet was retired for good in Marana, Ariz.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilots Stephen Hanlon (left) and Paul Gallaher shake
        Pilots Stephen Hanlon (left) and Paul Gallaher shake hands after landing the last Boeing 747 flight for Delta Air Lines in Marana, Ariz. on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenFlight attendants pose for a selfie under the wing
        Flight attendants pose for a selfie under the wing of Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet. It had just completed its retirement flight to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz on Jan. 3, 2018  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenMike and Anne Vetter, both Delta employees based in
        Mike and Anne Vetter, both Delta employees based in Detroit, pose in the engine of Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet after its retirement flight to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz on Jan. 3, 2018  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet rests under
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet rests under blue skies after its retirement flight to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz on Jan. 3, 2018  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenThe cabin crew aboard Delta Air Lines' last Boeing
        The cabin crew aboard Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet pose in the engine after its retirement flight to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz on Jan. 3, 2018  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenPilots of the Boeing 747, all of whom flew with Delta
        Pilots of the Boeing 747, all of whom flew with Delta and/or Northwest over the years, pose in front of Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet . The plane had just completed its retirement flight to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz on Jan. 3, 2018  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenSignatures cover the underbelly of the nose of Delta
        Signatures cover the underbelly of the nose of Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 jumbo jet after its retirement flight to a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest
        Delta Air Lines' last Boeing 747 flies over the Southwest en route to its retirement in a scrapyard in Marana, Ariz., on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenAlready at the Arizona boneyard, a former Delta Air
        Already at the Arizona boneyard, a former Delta Air Lines Boeing 747 awaits being completely torn apart at the scrapyard in Pinal Airpark in Marana, Ariz.,on Jan. 3, 2018.  Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren, special to USA TODAY>FullscreenThe crew for Delta's Boeing 747 retirement flight poses
        The crew for Delta's Boeing 747 retirement flight poses for a photo in Atlanta prior to departure on Jan. 3, 2018.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenPassengers on some of Delta's last Boeing 747 charter
        Passengers on some of Delta's last Boeing 747 charter flights - including sports teams - were encouraged to leave farewell messages inside the plane. This one appears to have been left by the Clemson University football team.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenA Delta flight attendant shows a cake that was about
        A Delta flight attendant shows a cake that was about to be served following a wedding performed on the flight.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenThe passengers on Delta's last flight were served this
        The passengers on Delta's last flight were served this breakfast meal on the way to the Arizona boneyard.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta's final Boeing 747 flight as seen from seat 13K
        Delta's final Boeing 747 flight as seen from seat 13K as the aircraft began to descend over the Arizona desert.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta pilot Mike Vetter left his mark at his seat on
        Delta pilot Mike Vetter left his mark at his seat on Delta's Boeing 747 retirement flight.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta's final Boeing 747 flight as seen from seat 13K
        Delta's final Boeing 747 flight as seen from seat 13K as the aircraft began to descend over the Arizona desert.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenA crowd of media and well-wishers were on hand at the
        A crowd of media and well-wishers were on hand at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona as Delta's final Boeing 747 arrived on Jan. 3, 2018.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta's final Boeing 747 sites after arriving at the
        Delta's final Boeing 747 sites after arriving at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona as Delta's final Boeing 747 arrived on Jan. 3, 2018.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta's final Boeing 747 sites after arriving at the
        Delta's final Boeing 747 sites after arriving at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona as Delta's final Boeing 747 arrived on Jan. 3, 2018.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>FullscreenDelta's final Boeing 747 sites after arriving at the
        Delta's final Boeing 747 sites after arriving at the Pinal Airpark in Arizona as Delta's final Boeing 747 arrived on Jan. 3, 2018.  Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY>Fullscreen

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          The Coleman A Young Municipal airport in April 2014 in Detroit. (Photo: Jarrad Henderson, Jarrad Henderson)

           

          Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2018/04/13/detroits-old-city-airport-crumbles-can-revived/514002002/

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