The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has requested that the Department of Homeland Security establish security screening capabilities and gateway operations at Palm Beach County Park Airport to ease the economic impact of shutting down the airport each time President Donald Trump visits his nearby Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
In a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly, AOPA President Mark Baker urged adopting measures to allow limited operations at the general aviation airport during temporary flight restrictions in effect for presidential visits.
Baker added AOPA’s commitment to support operational relief at the airport by disseminating information about the special procedures to local pilots, FBOs, and companies based at the airport, where 250 people are employed full-time and which accounts for an annual community impact of $27 million.
It has been estimated that the operators of Palm Beach County Park Airport — a Palm Beach International Airport reliever field also known as Lantana Airport — lost $30,000 as a result of one three-day weekend visit by Trump to Mar-a-Lago.
Since December 2016, AOPA has made multiple requests to the FAA to create an airspace cutout from the inner core for Lantana Airport, and recently requested a meeting on the matter.
During the first three TFRs associated with Trump’s visits to Mar-a-Lago —located just 5 nm from Lantana Airport — no cutout was authorized.
AOPA has urged Florida’s two senators, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel to request that the TSA establish security screening capabilities and gateway operations at Palm Beach County Park Airport.