Funny. The FAA spokeswoman quoted in the article doesn't actually know that those numbers are real - in fact, they aren't. She got the numbers from the annual report to the FAA filed by the airport, in which the number of operations and based aircraft are inflated. Even so, the FAA, in its 2012 national assessment of all airports in the country, downgraded Foothills Regional from a "regional" airport to a "local" airport due at least in part to the decline in airplanes based there, the decline in aviation operations (take-off and landings), and the decline in importance of the airport to the overall value, economy, and robustness of the community. Burke county has TWO airports (Foothills and Hickory). Hickory is still considered by the FAA to be a "regional" airport. Perhaps closing Foothills and increasing support for Hickory is the proper thing to do in these economic times, especially since the Foothills Regioanl Airport Authority evidently doesn't really know how to run an airport.