Republic Airport (FRG) on Long Island in New York recently became a bustling scene of faux police cars, extras as state troopers, an army of movie technicians, a battery of lights, cameras and action for a filming of a scene from the popular ABC sitcom “Ugly Betty.”
The effort is just one of a number of film and television productions that are finding the general aviation airport a great location for filming, airport officials said. Stars that have made their way to Republic includes Angelina Jolie and Donald Trump, but the real rate of return for Republic are the revenues produced by production companies that rent facilities, aircraft, support equipment and acres of open space.
Airport Director Michael Geiger has commissioned a marketing effort that reminds production assistants and location scouts that Republic Airport is 40 minutes from Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens where a lot of studio work is done and equidistant to the tony Hamptons, where many stars seek solitude.
Ironically, a number of productions have walked past the hangars, World War II aircraft and corporate jets that make Republic Airport home and set up camp in one of the last controlled woodlands of suburban Long Island. Geiger notes, “We have acres of woods inside the fence line where clearings and dirt roads could put an actor literally anywhere. Of course they need to coordinate their filming with the busiest general aviation airport in New York, but it all seems to work out fine in the editing room.”
Desmond Ryan, of the Association for a Better Long Island, a regional business group representing $15 billion in commercial and industrial real estate, explained, “Republic has always been an enormous economic generator for New York, acting as an air bridge between Long Island corporations and their clients. However, this effort to sustain their role as a movie location adds yet another layer of economic depth to the role of this airport.”
Geiger notes, “No one has forgotten our primary mission as the most important general aviation airport in New York but we will continue to look at new parallel business opportunities that build revenue and add depth to Republic’s economic objectives.”