Report: Trump’s frequent travel hurting small airports

Report: Trump’s frequent travel hurting small airports
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President Trump’s frequent visits to his properties in Florida and New Jersey are hurting small airports and other aviation-related businesses in the surrounding area, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Trump’s latest trip — a 17-day working vacation at his secluded Bedminster, N.J., golf course — has caused federal aviation regulators to put in place flight restrictions affecting more than a dozen small airports. Two located in western New Jersey are being hit hardest by the restrictions, according to the report.

Weekends in the summer are typically when small airports are the busiest, catering to business clients and private pilots. But at Solberg-Hunterdon Airport in New Jersey — which averages about 100 combined takeoffs and landings per day — aircraft were sitting idle, the AP said.

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“Twenty percent of our annual business is affected by the president’s visits in the summertime because that’s how much of our business takes place on the weekends in the summertime,” said the airport’s owner, Thor Solberg.

In Florida, small airports and flight training schools near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach have already lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in business this year because of the no-fly zone near the property when the president is in town, according to the AP.

A group of New Jersey lawmakers has urged the Secret Service, which oversees presidential security, to allow pre-screened pilots to fly in and out of a security-sensitive area — the same system used near Washington, D.C. But so far there has been no response, according to the report.

“It’s not just the current revenue that’s a problem,” Solberg said. “It’s the fact that we’re unable to get continuous new business because we’re unable to provide potential customers with a service that they can rely on.”