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Little Known Teterboro Airport

May 15, 2017

A Learjet crashed at Teterboro airport today killing two pilots. Few know or remember that Teterboro airport is a municipal civil aviation airport that was sold to a private company.

Privatization of airports has been blocked by the Federal Aviation Agency and, after 9/11, the future of privatized airports is quite dim. So, why and how did this airport escape the clutches of federal government regulators?

Several years ago, I made an effort to find out when I assisted the County of Allegheny in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to privatize some of its government services. A college friend, Larry Dunn, had been elected Chairman of the County Board of Commissioners–the first Republican to control county government in sixty years. Commissioner Dunn had run for office on the pledge that he would privatize the county’s civil aviation airport, or resign.

When we realized that there were regulations making that sale impossible, Commissioner Dunn went to Washington, DC and initiated legislation that would permit the privatization of five airports. I looked into how many U.S. airports had been privatized and found that only Teterboro had successfully freed itself from government control. “Why and how,” I asked.  The answer: “This is Jersey!”

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