Yet another airport in New Jersey is shutting down, though this time there might be hope of a revival in the future. Newton Airport (3N5) has been sold to Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), which intends to use the 96-acre site to store material and construction equipment for a new transmission line in the area, erecting 200-foot towers to replace the current 90-foot towers installed in the 1920s.
PSE&G paid $3.5 million for the property, and is noncommittal on its plans for the airport after the two-year project is completed. Newton is hardly a bustling hub of GA activity, with no fuel or runway lights available and logging an average of about 29 operations per day. And it sits just a five miles from the relatively busy Andover-Aeroflex airport and Trinca Airport, a quiet grass strip.
But losing any runway is considered a blow to aviation in the state, which has gone from 82 airports in 1950 to its current total of 44. One area of concern is the relatively large percentage of New Jersey airports that are privately owned and therefore vulnerable to real estate acquisitions such as this one. Greg Pecoraro, AOPA’s vice president for airports and state affairs, said, “You’ve got a lot of privately owned airports [in New Jersey] that have done a great job serving the needs of the aviation community. We are concerned that every year it seems like one or two drop out of service.”
One glimmer of hope for Newton is that the PSE&G project will involve significant use of helicopters to help construct the towers. Local pilots are hopeful that PSE&G’s use of the airport as a base could help prompt a return to its service as a public-use facility in the future.