Palm Beach County has drafted a resolution seeking relief from temporary flight restrictions that impact the Lantana Airport during President Trump’s trips to his Mar-a-Lago mansion on Palm Beach.
The resolution, up for discussion when county commissioners meet on Tuesday, states that: “The frequent imposition of TFRs have resulted in, and will continue to result in, significant losses to the aviation businesses operating at the Lantana Airport.”
Temporary flight restrictions during Trump’s visits have impacted all airports in the county, but they have been particularly costly for the Lantana Airport, located six miles south of West Palm Beach.
A county report in February noted that the airport lost $30,000 in business during one of Trump’s visits.
The county’s resolution directs County Administrator Verdenia Baker or her designee to work with the county’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security to find a way for the Lantana airport to continue operations during Trump’s visits.
The 44-year ban on jets at Lantana’s airport is over. The Federal Aviation Administration wrote Palm Beach County this month to say small jets now can land at the airport, though they’re limited to one of its three runways.
The agency “has concluded that permitting jet aircraft operations” on the one runway “will not affect safety or efficiency at LNA (Lantana) or surrounding airports,” FAA airport compliance specialist Deandra Brooks said in a March 17 letter to the lawyer for 76-year-old retired Eastern Airlines pilot Errol Forman of Hypoluxo.
Lantana, just 7 air miles from Palm Beach International Airport and officially named Palm Beach County Park Airport, is the subject of a 1973 agreement in which the FAA gave the county authority to ban jets. It’s the only one in Florida that formally forbids jets.
Forman had protested in April 2016 to the feds, arguing the rule is archaic and was instituted when small jets were far noisier than they are now.
“It looks like the FAA made a reasonable decision,” Forman said Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to rule on whether retired commercial pilot Errol Forman can land his jet at the Lantana Airport. But an interested party has weighed in. The Atlantis City Council, at its Dec. 14 meeting, voted 5-0 to support the 43-year-old embargo,
The town, which is adjacent to the airport, said in its resolution that many people and businesses relied on the ban when they moved there, and the city “believes that it is in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of its residents and businesses” to keep the moratorium in place.
The FAA said in December that Forman’s complaint has merit and the ban “may be unjustly discriminatory and not consistent with the county’s federal obligations.” Palm Beach County Airports Director Bruce Pelly then wrote to county commissioners that the restriction still might be enforceable for reasons of “airspace safety and/or efficiency.”
Forman has told The Palm Beach Post it’s the county that’s infringing on his right to fly at an airport that’s paid for with federal money and open to the public.
Lantana, just 7 air miles from Palm Beach International Airport and officially named Palm Beach County Park Airport, is the subject of a 1973 agreement in which the Federal Aviation Administration gave the county authority to ban jets. It’s the only one in Florida that formally forbids jets.