While Moyer Aviation Inc. has become a fixture at Braden Airpark in Forks Township over two decades, the general aviation business will again call the Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport in Monroe County as its home.
Moyer offers charter flights and other general aviation services and operated at both the Pocono airport and Braden Airpark from 1981-2000, said Vern Moyer, president of Moyer Aviation. The company consolidated the two general aviation businesses into one and moved to Braden in 2000, Moyer said.
The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority owns the Braden property and confirmed Moyer Aviation’s plan to move. With a 2015 deadline looming for paying off a $16 million lawsuit stemming from the 1990s, the authority has been looking at the properties it owns to potentially sell to generate money.
Charles Everett, executive director for the authority, said there are no plans to sell the airport at this time. The authority also owns Queen City Airport in Allentown and Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township (Lehigh County).
“We have not made a decision at this point on how we will proceed,” Everett said about Braden. “It is going to continue to be used as a small airport. No decision has been made to close the airport.”
He said he did not know the value of the land.
Moyer Aviation has a month-to-month lease with the authority, and Everett confirmed that the company gave notice that it would terminate its agreement effective April 30.
“We’re hoping they will keep it as an airport,” Moyer said.
He said the authority is considering a sale of Braden Airpark, which covers about 80 acres.
With a long-term lease and a larger facility, Moyer said the Pocono airport would offer an opportunity to possibly expand his business with larger aircraft for charter services and it would continue charter flights out of the Lehigh Valley and New York region.
Moyer would also continue its maintenance shop/service center and flight school at the Pocono airport. The longest runway at the Pocono location is about 5,000 feet in length, while the longest runway at Braden is about 2,000 feet, added Moyer.
“We expect to be up there May 1,” said Moyer. “We are going to continue to service our customers. We just felt for the long-term prospects of the company, we decided to move.”
Upon learning of the move, Robert Rockmaker, executive director of the Aviation Council of Pennsylvania, said the council was pleased to know Braden Airpark would remain a general aviation airport at this time.
With the development of the Chrin interchange at Route 33 in Palmer Township, Rockmaker said there would be additional business-related general aviation traffic.
“So many of the businesses do get guests who fly in,” said Rockmaker. “They will need to come in and visit those companies that Chrin is developing.”
Braden Airpark also serves as a congestion-reliever for the main airport (LVIA), said Rockmaker.
“Braden Airpark is part of a regional airport system for the greater Lehigh Valley statistical metro area, and communities similar to the Lehigh Valley all have multiple airports to help support the airport system.”
If the authority decided to close Braden Airpark, it would need to find a home for the nearly 70 planes that use that airport, he explained.
Braden has not received any federal funds and is not a federally obligated airport eligible to apply for Airport Improvement Program grants, said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Association.
Peters said an airport must be included in the state aviation plan in order to be eligible for federal funding. Also, Braden has not received any funds through the FAA State Block Grant Program in which Pennsylvania participates. The state manages the program and decides what airport projects are funded annually, said Peters.
In a span of six years, starting in 2001, PennDOT said it awarded about $1.7 million to Braden in state grants for various construction and enhancement projects.