Report highlights possible flight restrictions when President-elect Trump visits Mar-a-Lago

Restrictions would force Lantana Airport to close
Posted at 6:59 AM, Jan 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-20 09:06:29-05

Palm Beach County leaders will discuss possible flight restrictions for the area should President-elect Donald Trump visit Mar-a-Lago as president.

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From closed airports to bans on certain air operations, a report breaks down the possible economic impacts.


First, the county’s director of airports predicts the Federal Aviation Administration will place a one nautical mile no-fly zone around Mar-A-Lago when President-elect Donald Trump visits his “winter White House” as president.

Further restrictions could force the Lantana airport to close temporarily. The FAA will place restrictions on airports within 10 nautical miles (11 standard miles) of Mar-a-Lago, including the Lantana Airport. Those restrictions will not allow general aviation planes to depart from the airport.

Similar restrictions will apply to airports within 30 nautical miles (35 standard miles) of Mar-a-Lago. That distance stretches nearly from Stuart to Pompano Beach and Belle Glade in the west.

The FAA will prohibit pilots in that area from flight training, sightseeing, parachuting, crop dusting, operating seaplanes, gliders, ultralight planes or balloons. 

Arriving planes will have to stop at a gateway airport like Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood or Orlando for a TSA screening before landing at one of the smaller airports within that 35-mile zone.

Palm Beach Flight Training, a flight school based at Lantana Airport, said the restrictions could potentially put it out of business.

Another business operating out of Lantana, Palm Beach Aircraft Services, told the county it could lose $2 million per year in revenue, depending on how often the president visits Mar-a-Lago.

Commercial flights will still be allowed in and out of Palm Beach International Airport. The current flight path for aircrafts goes directly over Mar-a-Lago. With these restrictions, pilots would have to curve almost immediately after take-off to avoid the one mile no-fly zone around Mar-a-Lago. 

The director of airports will go over this report in more detail with county commissioners during a workshop meeting Tuesday.

The Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association sent a letter to President-elect Trump highlighting the economic impacts these flight restrictions could have.

The group counted 8,000 jobs at six of the 11 airports which would fall under the 35-mile zone. It asked to work with Trump’s team to look at alternate options.

Click here to read the full 17-page report.