Less than two months remain before the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is expected to take over operations at Atlantic City International Airport.

In March, the Port Authority and the airport's current operator, the South Jersey Transportation Authority, both voted to move forward with negotiations that are expected to result in an agreement allowing the Port Authority to operate the airport in Egg Harbor Township by July 1.

Before that can happen, both agencies will have to approve the terms of the arrangement. Gov. Chris Christie has already approved the Port Authority's involvement in the operation. Expected to be included in the agreement is an option for the Port Authority to purchase the SJTA's interest in the airport after a specified length of time.

Both agencies are scheduled to meet later this month. Agendas for the meetings have not yet been released, but last week the SJTA pushed back its monthly meeting from Wednesday to May 29, which will coincide with the Port Authority's monthly meeting. No reason was given for the change in date.

The SJTA's March meeting was also rescheduled to coincide with the Port Authority's meeting.

The vote allowing negotiations to commence followed a $3 million study by a Florida-based consultant concluding that Atlantic City International should add flights to Orlando, Fla., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas, Nev., and San Juan, Puerto Rico to quickly increase traffic.

Bi-state legislation approved in 2007 gives the Port Authority power to operate two airports outside of its jurisdiction, which is roughly a 25-mile radius from the Statue of Liberty. Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y., was also taken over by the Port Authority under the legislation. Officials have said the additional airports were expected to help relieve congestion from the Port Authority's other airports - JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty.

Those airports saw a combined $106 million passengers in 2011 compared to Atlantic City's peak of 1.4 million in 2010.

Contact Jennifer Bogdan:

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