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AOPA urges crucial funding for New Jersey airports

AOPA and the New Jersey Aviation Association (NJAA) are urging pilots to contact their state legislators and encourage them to secure more funding for aeronautic programs, which have been drastically underfunded in recent years.

Currently, New Jersey’s capital grant program for airports averages less than $5 million in annual funding, while data shows the state’s public-use airports need annual funding of $23 million just to keep pace with existing aviation infrastructure needs.

The lack of funding has led to a competitive disadvantage and uncertain future for airports in the state. According to the FAA, since the 1980s, public-use airports have dwindled from a high point of more than 60 to 41 today. Additionally, nearly 60 percent of these public-use airports are privately owned—meaning they aren’t eligible for FAA airport improvement program funding and rely on the capital grant program to maintain operations.

AOPA and the NJAA have been working to preserve these smaller privately owned airports, as they are essential for general aviation’s vitality in the state and are key components of economic development. According to a 2016 statewide economic impact study, New Jersey airports generate more than $2.8 billion in GA output.

In recent years, the lack of aeronautical funding has had detrimental effects on GA airports in the state. Trinca Airfield closed in 2020 and Flying W—a once-thriving destination airfield with more than 100 based aircraft—is expected to be shut down for redevelopment.

AOPA’s legislative call to action was sent to approximately 600 members who reside in New Jersey, and whose representatives in state government have the power to preserve the state’s airports and correct the increasing gap in aeronautical funding.

Amelia Walsh

Communications and Research Specialist
AOPA Comms and Research Specialist Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she's a private pilot working on her instrument rating in a Colombia 350.
Topics: Advocacy, Airport Advocacy, State Legislation

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