Winter White House shuts down air traffic

If you fly small airplanes in Florida, there’s a pretty fair chance you own a paperweight, at least in the area where President Donald Trump has set up his winter White House from time to time.

The Federal Aviation Administration sets no-fly zones wherever the president is and most of the time, it’s not a big deal. They come and they go. And, besides, presidential vacation spots tend to be nowhere busy.

President Obama grounded airplanes on Martha’s Vineyard. There’s still a no-fly zone around Kennebunkport, Maine, but it’s not a big deal because it’s Kennebunkport.

South Florida is a whole different picture, however.

No operations are allowed at the Palm Beach County Airport when the president is at Mar-a-Lago except by going to another airport first and getting a special clearance to fly. This is roughly the same procedure used in the Twin Cities during the Republican National Convention in 2008.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says it’s seeking a meeting with the FAA to reach a compromise, claiming six airports in the area “have a total economic output exceeding $1 billion, create over 8,000 jobs, and have a total payroll of $290 million.”

The group says if the president stays the entire President’s Day weekend, the airport would lose about $40,000.