A provision in the House budget plan would mandate the closing of Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill by Aug. 1.
The Senate budget does not include that language, so it's unclear how much momentum there is for closing the airport, which has been an issue for years in Chapel Hill.
Traffic at the airport has dropped since 2011, when UNC-Chapel Hill's medical fleet moved to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. MedAir, the service that flies medical personnel across the state for patient care and training, had used Horace Williams Airport previously. The airport now serves private planes.
UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp said recently that he wished he had been able to close the airport, which is on the large Horace Williams tract slated for further development as Carolina North, a satellite campus.
In the past few years, the future of the airport has been debated at the legislature, which at one point allowed the UNC Board of Governors to create an airport authority to locate another airport in Orange County. Later, that legislation was repealed.
Drew Moretz, the UNC system's lobbyist, said the airport provision in the House bill was not part of the UNC system's policy agenda this year.