The Flagstaff, Ariz. City Council will consider changes to the monthly permits issued to tenants of city-owned hangars that could require them to buy liability insurance to cover the facilities and name the city on the policy.
The policy will protect the city from frivolous lawsuits and places all the burden on the individual’s insurance company if the hangar is damaged, said Bill Menard, public works director.
“It’s all about negligence. The issue is why should I, as a city official, be sued for nothing I did,” Menard said. ‘All we really want is to ensure if you burn up the hangar and the airplanes and everybody in it, we’re covered. … People should be responsible citizens.”
Some tenants are enraged and say the new policy could prevent less affluent pilots from using the air park. Some say it singles out pilots for unnecessary restrictions.
Paul Jones, the lone airport commissioner who is opposed to the liability insurance, sees it as selective treatment to require insurance for the use of a public asset.
“Should you have an insurance policy to go to the library, or the park?” Jones said. “The reality of the situation is that city facilities should be available for anybody who has the desire, not just for the rich.”
Menard said the same levels of insurance are required of people who use park space for a business event. “The majority of people that fly out there are businesses.”
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