Port Authority May Take Over Atlantic City’s Airport

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, operator of the New York City area’s three major airports, approved spending $3 million to study a possible takeover of Atlantic City’s terminal.

The agency’s board said that assuming its operations would boost the region’s flight capacity and serve Atlantic City’s casino industry.

“Atlantic City International Airport may provide a good fit with our current air operations, easing congestion and opening up new opportunities,” Port Authority Chairman David Samson said today in a news release.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made reviving Atlantic City a centerpiece of his plans to boost New Jersey’s economy. He has eased regulations and given the state a greater role in policing and development. He awarded Revel Entertainment Group LLC a $261 million tax break to help restart construction of the city’s first new casino in nine years. Christie, a Republican, oversees the Port Authority with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat.

Atlantic City’s airport, managed by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, served 1.4 million travelers in 2011. In 2007, the Port Authority acquired Stewart International Airport about 60 miles (97 kilometers) north of New York City to relieve congestion at John F. Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

The study will allow the Port Authority to determine whether it can run the Atlantic City airport more efficiently while reducing air-travel congestion, New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James Simpson said by e-mail. Simpson chairs the South Jersey Transportation Authority.

“The metropolitan New York airports that the Port Authority operates are tremendously busy, while ACY has untapped capacity,” Simpson said using the Atlantic City airport code. “There have been times when ACY has remained open when bad weather has prompted flight cancellations at Newark, LaGuardia and Kennedy.”

Last year, 106 million passengers traveled through the Port Authority’s four commercial airports.

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