Flights leave Atlantic City Airport

The South Jersey Transportation Authority on Wednesday passed a resolution to reauthorize an incentive program to bring new air service to the underutilized Atlantic City International Airport for another year. Studies show there is a great deal of interest among locals and visitors for service to and from North Carolina, officials said.

Atlantic City International Airport has focused on getting air service to big cities in the past, such as New Orleans, Chicago and Boston.

However, research shows locals may want to fly to such cities, but routes to North Carolina may be what people really need, according to research by the South Jersey Transportation Authority.

The SJTA on Wednesday renewed its incentive program for enticing new airlines to Atlantic City International for another year.

Airport Director Tim Kroll said airport officials are constantly looking to bring new service in, and they pay attention to the results of surveys showing an interest in flights to North Carolina.

Property tax databases also show a large number of property tax bills sent out of state go there, indicating residents there have summer homes here.

Locals are most interested in service to Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas and North Carolina, Kroll said, based on studies.

Visitors are most interested in coming from those same markets, he said, with the exception of Las Vegas.

“That’s more outbound,” Kroll said.

While ACY has had service to Boston and Chicago before — it ended in 2017 and 2016, respectively — ACY has never had service to North Carolina, Kroll said.

“And there are not a lot of gaming markets there,” he said.

The program approved Wednesday was a continuation of a program from last year, Executive Director Steven Dougherty said.

In his report to the board, Dougherty said 99,000 passengers used the airport in January, about the same number as the January before.

Toll revenue on the Atlantic City Expressway, however, was up 7% from the previous January, totaling $5.6 million.

In contrast, combined parking revenues at the airport and the New York Avenue parking garage were down 3.2% from the January before, at $690,000.

The incentive program for air service development at ACY is open to any airline that would increase service, Kroll said.

He said the SJTA does not have any new agreements to announce but met with 14 airlines about two weeks ago.

“We have meetings and talk with them constantly,” he said.

The SJTA program offers a marketing incentive of $25,000 to $125,000 per year for up to two years to airlines offering domestic service and $40,000 to $140,000 to those offering international service, with additional $5 per passenger refunds possible.

There was no news announced about the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s plans regarding purchase of ACY. In October, the agency said it had hired a consultant, LeighFisher, to evaluate the feasibility of assuming control of another airport in New Jersey, including Atlantic City International.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney announced a push to have the authority buy the facility last March, as a way to increase the use of the large but underutilized airport.

The airport is at the center of Atlantic County’s plans to diversify its economy away from over-reliance on the casino industry. Officials hope to bring aviation maintenance operations to the airport as well as aviation research firms and more commercial passenger and charter flights.

The Port Authority runs the major New York City airports of LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty International Airport and Stewart International Airport in Orange County, New York.

Contact: 609-272-7219

mpost@pressofac.com

Twitter @MichelleBPost

Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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