Third bizav option likely in New Jersey

 - September 15, 2006, 7:38 AM

A new business aviation airport appears set to emerge in New Jersey, where the two major facilities serving business jets, Teterboro and Morristown, are at or near capacity. The third bizav facility was one of the subjects under discussion at the 2006 New Jersey Aviation Conference in Trenton on May 10.

The airport that appears destined to fulfill this role is the Robert J. Miller Airpark in Berkeley Township, six miles southwest of Toms River. Ocean County owns the airport, which is operated by Ocean Aire.

Miller Airpark is located about 75 miles south of New York City, and during off-peak times the drive would take about 90 minutes. (Stewart Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., is roughly equidistant north of Manhattan.)

Tim Boyd, who owns Ocean Aire with his brother Len, said five jets are based at the airport. The two new hangars the operator has planned would cover 20,000 sq ft, with doors high enough to accommodate the GV. It is expected that the first of the two hangars will be completed by the end of the summer. “As soon as the first hangar is filled we will start work on the second,” Boyd said. “The first hangar will have office space as well as hangar space. We have enough inquiries from prospective tenants seeking storage space that we are confident the first hangar will be rented quickly. We will not be signing any leases, however, until the project is under way.”

Robert J. Miller has several advantages over most business aviation airports. There is no noise problem since there are no homes nearby. The 389-acre airport, built in 1968, is surrounded by land owned by the county and cannot be developed. It is protected by the Pinelands Commission’s preservation and protection regulations.

A second advantage of Robert J. Miller Airpark is the fact that clearances are issued by McGuire AFB, which is not as overburdened as the New York Center, which in turn means much less frequent delays for operators.

The one runway at the airport is 5,949 feet long. Ocean County Planning Board member Dave McKeon said the board wants to build a 3,950-foot crosswind runway, a project that has been in the works for a number of years. The FAA has approved the project, and has the funding, but will not set it aside until the Pinelands Commission approves the project. McKeon said the county is working closely with the Commission.

The Planning Board would also like to build a new terminal. Funds have been set aside and the project is in the planning stage.

There are 116 aircraft based at R.J. Miller and 44 T-hangars. “There is a long waiting list for T-hangars,” said Boyd, “and we are proposing to build 10 to 12 more as soon as possible and plan to build more if there is still a demand.”

The airport’s Web site, www.oceanaire.net, contains more information about the facility.