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For information about the latest developments at Trenton-Mercer Airport, including improvement projects and the Airport Master Plan Update, click on the links below.

 

Trenton-Mercer Airport Master Plan Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been gathered from comments and questions received from the public and interested parties at public meetings and submitted by email or mail directly to the consultant team for the Master Plan. The FAQs are updated regularly as additional common questions are asked or clarification on the Master Plan or Airport Layout Plan is needed.

What is an Airport Master Plan?

An Airport Master Plan is a process to plan for the short, intermediate, and long term development goals of the Airport.  The Airport Master Plan for Trenton-Mercer Airport will have a 20-year planning horizon based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aviation activity forecasts and will be developed through a combination of professional evaluation and public involvement.  The goal of the Airport Master Plan is to provide the framework needed to guide future airport development that will cost-effectively satisfy aviation demand, while considering potential environmental and socioeconomic issues. The existing and proposed conditions are shown on the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) that accompanies the Master Plan.

The recommendations contained in an Airport Master Plan do not necessarily represent the views of FAA, and acceptance of the Airport Master Plan by FAA does not constitute a commitment on the part of FAA to participate in any development depicted in the Airport Master Plan or indicate that the proposed development is environmentally acceptable.  Rather, the Airport Master Plan is essentially a facility planning study that sets forth a conceptual framework for possible future airport development. 

Why is Trenton-Mercer completing an Airport Master Plan?

The FAA recommends that public use airports such as Trenton-Mercer Airport prepare a new Airport Master Plan every 10 years +/- or as local aviation conditions change.  The previous Master Plan was completed in the late 90’s therefore, Mercer County has initiated this Airport Master Plan to ensure the Airport continues to operate in a safe and efficient manner and to address any changes in the aviation industry both locally and nationally.

Who is preparing the Airport Master Plan?

Following a qualifications-based selection process, Urban Engineers was selected as the general consultant for the airport.   Urban Engineers hired McFarland Johnson, a national aviation consulting firm specializing in airport planning studies at smaller commercial service airports.

Who is funding the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA provides 90 percent of the project funding, with the remaining 10 percent coming from Mercer County.  The FAA funding is sourced from the Aviation Trust Fund, which is funded exclusively by various aviation user fees, including taxes on airline tickets, aviation fuel, and some aircraft parts.

What is the purpose of the last two public meetings?

Two public meetings were held in association with the Master Plan for the Trenton-Mercer Airport. The first public meeting held on September 29, 2016 and contained information on existing conditions, forecast, and airport facility needs.  The second meeting held on May 24, 2017 contained the same items as the first meeting but also presented the recommended development plan. These public meetings were associated with the plan itself.

An update of the Master Plan process and progress was presented at a Freeholder’s Meeting on December 13, 2016.

A third public meeting, held on October 19, 2017 as part of the Mercer County Freeholders Meeting, included a presentation of the Master Plan information on existing conditions, forecast data, and alternatives for airside, landside and terminal planning. The presentation includes public questions and comments regarding the master plan and future projects.

Separately there is an ongoing obstruction removal project that has had separate public meetings and is NOT associated with the 20-year Master Plan. The tree removal and land acquisition is NOT part of any airport expansion and is being performed to maintain navigable airspace around the airport to ensure the safety of aircraft operations, the public, and property. Questions regarding the tree removal and land acquisition project should be directed to the airport manager’s office.

What public outreach has been done to inform the surrounding area on the airport plans?

In addition to placing public notices in both the Trenton Times and the Bucks Courier Times, Mercer County has issued press releases for the two public meetings that were picked up by many media outlets in the two weeks leading up to  each of the meetings.  To further enhance future communication on airport planning/development related matters, the project team has been assembling an e-mail list from commenters, attendees, and other local municipalities to further enhance direct communication with interested parties.  This list was used for the second public meeting. Outreach to local community groups, local townships and municipalities within Mercer County and Bucks County was also performed for the two public meetings.

For each of the public presentations that were part of the Freeholder’s Meetings in December, 2016 and October, 2017, the meeting was advertised on the Mercer County Website and public notices of the Freeholder meetings were made in local newspapers.

Are any project approvals associated with these meetings?

No actions, or specific projects are approved as result of the master planning process, the public meetings reflect the plan itself, and not the physical projects.

Are any runway extensions being proposed?

There are NO extensions or dimensional changes proposed to either runway at the Trenton-Mercer Airport. Concrete arresting beds were installed from 2012 through 2013 at the ends of each of the runways at Trenton-Mercer Airport. These beds were installed to reduce the potential for aircraft overruns of the runway and meet FAA safety requirements for Runway Safety Areas and the FAA’s Runway Safety Area Program and lock in the length of the runway.

Will there be any changes to the airfield that will increase its current capacity?

Proposed modifications to the taxiway system do NOT enhance the airport’s capacity. Taxiway changes are proposed to improve safety on the airfield and meet FAA design standards only. The taxiway modifications shown on the Master Plan as future improvements will improve the geometry of intersecting taxiways and bring the airport into compliance with FAA criteria while improving safety, and reducing the potential for runway incursions due non-standard layouts or confusion of the pilots when navigating on the airfield.

How do the future projected activity levels compare to the existing number of flights?

The Existing Aircraft Operations (2015) at the airport includes the following:

Aircraft

Existing Total Annual Operations (2015)

Existing Average Daily Operations (2015)

Existing Average Daily Departures (2015)

Percentage of Average Daily Operations (2015)

Air Carrier (Airline)

9,599

26

13

12%

General/Corporate Aviation

66,873

183

92

86%

Military

1,791

5

2

2%

Total

78,263

214

107

100%

 

 

Operations are defined as the total number of take-offs and landings. For example, for every scheduled air carrier flight, there is 1 landing and 1 take-off that equals 2 operations.

The Proposed 20 Year Forecast of Aircraft Operations (2035) for the airport includes the following:

Aircraft

Proposed Total Annual Operations (2035)

Proposed Average Daily Operations (2035)

Percentage of Average Daily Operations (2035)

Increase of Daily Departures – 20 Years (2015-2035)

Air Carrier (Airline)

12,364

34

13%

4

General/Corporate Aviation

81,120

222

85%

19

Military

1,791

5

2%

0

Total

95,275

261

100%

23

 

 

On an average daily basis, the forecast of aircraft operations over the next 20 years projects approximately 23 additional takeoffs per day – for all types of aircraft. The increase in the number of additional flights is predominantly in the areas of recreational and corporate aviation.  On average, only approximately four additional daily airline arrivals and departures per day are anticipated in the 20-year horizon.

The proposed forecasts are based on industry trends, historical data, and data from other regional airports of similar size and capacity. The proposed forecast information is reviewed by the FAA prior to completion of the Master Plan.

Overall operational levels are forecast to be below the level of activity experienced at TTN during the 1990s and early 2000s when the airport had over 100,000 annual operations (nearly 140 takeoffs per day).

How much of the increased operations will be from commercial airlines?

Over the next 20 year horizon only 16% of the future growth at the airport is anticipated to be in the form of commercial airlines; nearly 84% of the future growth will be in the form of general aviation that includes private aircraft for recreational, personal, or corporate use.

Will the proposed Terminal improvements increase capacity for the airport?

The existing terminal is 24,780 square feet in size. It currently processes over 377,000 passengers annually. The existing terminal consists of four aircraft positions served by two exit doors and is outdated and undersized for the number of operations it currently accommodates. During peak times, processing through security is impacted due to the size, configuration of the existing space and the adjacent areas for passengers to stand or sit in the public spaces which is inadequate. Airports with similar size operations to Trenton Mercer have larger and more modern facilities (that are between two and six times the size) that cost less to operate and maintain. The proposed terminal plan is to increase the capacity of the terminal up to approximately 125,000 square feet while still providing four hold rooms and gates for aircraft. The improvements will provide modern typical passenger amenities that most airports have such as adequate ticketing counter sizes and queuing areas; standardized Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sized processing areas and facilities; hold rooms and public spaces sized to accommodate waiting passengers in a comfortable environment; adequate restrooms, concessions, and other public amenities that are typical for all airports with similar aircraft schedules and sizes; provide up to date outbound baggage screening and inbound baggage handling that are automated and do not require as much manual assistance; improve the boarding process by providing boarding bridges that do not require passengers to go outside to board an aircraft; and improve the overall passenger experience entering and leaving the airport.

What is the airport going to do with the land that is currently being acquired?

The current land/easement acquisition project is being done to ensure unobstructed airspace for the safe navigation of aircraft as trees have grown over the past few decades and as trees grow over time.  This project is separate from the Master Plan, for more information related to this project, please contact the airport.

What are the different types of environmental reviews? Why are there different types?

The National Environmental Policy Act contains 3 types of approvals – Categorical Exclusion (CATX), Environmental Assessment (EA), and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS).  In general, Categorical Exclusions are used for specific categories of actions that meet certain criteria.  An example of a Categorical Exclusion would be rehabilitation of an existing facility.  Environmental Assessments are for projects that don’t qualify for a Categorical Exclusion and project effects that are not significant or can be mitigated so that they are not significant.  Environmental Impact Statements are for projects where environmental impacts are significant and can’t be mitigated.  Refer to FAA Orders 1050.1F and 5050.4B for a complete explanation. The definition of what a significant impact is lies with the approving agency.

Have airport projects gone through environmental reviews?

Yes. All airport projects are reviewed by the FAA to determine if a CATX, EA, or EIS are required. Projects at Trenton Mercer Airport that have gone through, or are going through, environmental reviews include:

  • Trenton-Mercer Airport Baggage Claim – EA (FAA)
  • Trenton-Mercer Airport Pad Construction Project for Aircraft Parking Position No. 1 – CATX (FAA)
  • Trenton-Mercer Airport AOA Perimeter Security Fence Replacement – CATX (FAA)
  • Trenton-Mercer Airport RW 6-24 Rehabilitation – CATX (FAA)
  • Trenton-Mercer Airport Taxiway F and Taxiways D & G Connector – CATX (FAA)
  • Trenton-Mercer Airport Relocation of Taxiway D & Rehabilitation of Taxiway G – EA (FAA)
  • Trenton-Mercer Airport Obstruction Mitigation – EA (FAA) (Ongoing)

    Similarly, other recent local projects that have gone through environmental reviews include:

  • Scudders Falls Bridge, Lower Makefield Twp, PA – EA (PennDOT)
  • I-95 Highway Improvements up to Scudders Falls (resurfacing), Lower Makefield Twp, PA – CATX (PennDOT)
  • Route 31 Bridge over CSX, Hopewell Twp, NJ – CATX (NJDOT)
  • Route 1 Oxford Valley Interchange, Middletown Twp, Falls Twp, Lower Makefield Twp, PA – CATX (PennDOT)
  • Afton Ave Streetscapes, Yardley, PA – CATX (PennDOT)
  • Northeast Corridor Rail Investment Plan, Bucks County, PA and Mercer County, NJ – EIS (Amtrak)
  • SEPTA/CSX Separation, Mercer County, NJ and Bucks County, PA – CATX (Federal Transit Administration)
  • PennEast Pipeline, Ewing and Hopewell Twps, NJ – EIS (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)

 

Is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) more comprehensive than an Environmental Assessment?

No. The technical analysis is the same for an Environmental Assessment as it is for an Environmental Impact Statement.

What is the FAA’s role in the Airport Master Plan?

The FAA has two official roles during the Airport Master Plan study:

  • FAA reviews and approves the aviation forecasts (the projected growth of airport services) that will be prepared as part of the Master Plan process; and
  • FAA formally approves the ALP for airspace and design standards.

In addition, the FAA has a supportive and advisory role during the preparation of the Airport Master Plan. The FAA may provide comments on Airport Master Plan findings, recommendations and deliverables, and may offer technical assistance and support. The FAA does not formally approve the Airport Master Plan since it is considered a local policy or guidance document.

Are Additional Studies Needed Before the Airport Proceeds With a Recommended Construction Project?

Yes.  Approval by the FAA of the ALP means only that there are no safety concerns related to the proposed Airport Master Plan and that the depiction is in general conformance with FAA standards.  Additional studies may be necessary before a project depicted on the Master Plan is implemented.  At a minimum, these usually include NEPA documentation and any other studies needed to satisfy required permit applications.

 

Where can I read/review the master plan?

Draft chapters are undergoing final review by the FAA.  Draft documents will be made available on the airport website soon.  A project website containing all of this information along with the draft report is being developed. Another e-mail will be sent when the materials are available.

Are the commercial (airline) aircraft louder than the corporate aircraft?

Aircraft noise is not commensurate with aircraft size. In many cases, modern commercial jetliners are quieter and more environmentally friendly than many of the recreational and corporate aircraft flying today.  The A320 and A320NEO are significantly quieter than the 737-200s which operated out of TTN in the 1990’s.

How can I stay informed?

To comment or to be added to future notifications by the airport regarding the Master Plan or environmental planning process, please contact our consultant team in one of the following ways:

  • Email your comments to: Trenton@mjinc.com
  • Send letter or comment to: Attn: Trenton-Mercer Airport Master Plan, Urban Engineers, Inc., 530 Walnut St., 7th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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