Trump's trips to Palm Beach prove costly to airports
Aviation businesses estimate millions of dollars in losses when Trump visits
LANTANA, Fla. – As President Donald Trump was preparing to make his second trip to South Florida in as many weekends, business owners that operate out of the Palm Beach County Park Airport in Lantana were voicing their concerns about the economic impact of the president's planned visits.
A Palm Beach County report estimates Trump's first weekend visit to his "winter White House" at Mar-a-Lago since taking office cost the county's four airports almost a quarter of a million dollars' worth of business.
"The restrictions here are very onerous because we can't do any departures out of here whatsoever under any conditions," Jonathan Miller, chief executive officer of Stellar Aviation Group, told Local 10 News. "So that effectively shuts down this airport."
By order of the U.S. Secret Service, temporary flight restrictions, or TFRs, have been put in place while Trump is in Palm Beach.
"They can't start an engine on the field during the TFR, so maintenance is difficult to do," Miller said. "We estimate that we lost here, at this airport, about $30,000 just from the three days last weekend."
Palm Beach Flight Training canceled 54 flights last weekend, as well as 60 instructor hours.
"It's going to be devastating for our business if this an every-weekend event," owner Marian Smith said.
Every general-aviation aircraft within a 10-mile radius is grounded during the president's entire stay.
Miller opened a new Twitter account with the sole purpose of communicating with Trump on his preferred medium.
"If my tenants see that this is going to be a continual, repetitive situation, they will leave, and that's where the losses can be in the millions of dollars," Miller said.
Businesses are holding out hope that pre-cleared aircraft and passengers will be allowed to use the facility when the president is in the area. But not this weekend.
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