Senate lawmakers are setting aside up to $3.5 million in FAA funding to reimburse certain airports and service providers affected by disruptions surrounding Presidential temporary flight restrictions (TFR). Included in the Senate version of the Fiscal Year 2019 transportation, housing, and urban development appropriations bill (S.3023), the measure is similar to language approved last month as part of the House FY’19 transportation funding bill.
The $3.5 million would reimburse “airport sponsors that do not provide gateway operations and providers of general aviation ground support services located at those airports closed during a TFR for any residence of the President that is designated or identified to be secured by the U.S. Secret Service.”
The measure calls for verification, but would cover both direct and incremental financial losses that occur when the airports are closed during the TFR. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has backed the provision, which would provide relief to airports such as Palm Beach County Park Airport (Lantana Airport) that essentially shut down during the TFRS.
While the measure would cover non-gateway airports near Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, the National Air Transportation Association is hoping to convince lawmakers to expand the applicability to include Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) and the affected businesses there as well. “While it is possible for general aviation aircraft to fly into and out of PBI during a Presidential TFR, the numerous restrictions render operations extremely difficult,” the association says, noting that businesses lose in excess of $1 million from the TFRs during peak season.