The Hillsborough Aviation Authority ratified a settlement agreement with Hernando County on Friday morning, ending months-long litigation involving the renaming of the local airport.
"It's done," said County Commission Chairman Dave Russell, who has been involved in the mediation proceedings and confirmed the ratification.
Hernando County will be allowed to use the new name of Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.
Russell said a sticking point in negotiations had been Hillsborough County's insistence that Hernando County not start passenger service and therefore offer competition to Tampa International Airport.
Although there is a clause in the agreement with words to that effect, Russell assures residents that it does not preclude Hernando County from ever offering such a service if conditions become favorable.
"I want everyone to understand that this agreement in no way, shape or form prohibits us from doing that," Russell said. "We currently don't offer passenger service. We don't have the facilities at this point in time and we don't have any plans at this point to do so."
That would be market-driven and "frankly, the chances of that are pretty slim," Russell said.
But in the unlikely event that service becomes available, Hillsborough County would have the ability to reopen talks, he said.
Hernando Today will have more details on the settlement later today and in Saturday's newspaper.