First "Air-Port" To Close

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The iconic airport labelled as the first to use that particular term will close next month. Development pressure and what appears to be an almost complete lack of community support has sealed the fate of Bader Airport in Atlantic City. A local newspaper reporter was credited as the first to use the term "air-port" in describing the facility in 1919. The name stuck. Bader has been in continuous operation since 1910, making it one of the oldest in the U.S. (College Park in Maryland opened in 1909) and saw its share of firsts, including being the launch point for the first attempt to cross the Atlantic by air. Development of Atlantic City International Airport 15 years ago shifted interest and business from Bader (though Bader is closer to and a few minutes from casinos and beaches) and there are now only about a dozen aircraft based there. AOPA has opposed the closure, but developers are licking their lips over the potential of the site, which is a stone's throw from the famous boardwalk and is billed as the choicest piece of real estate on the Eastern Seaboard. "The gambling interests were stronger than the aviation interests," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The city is reportedly asking $1 billion for the land, which could become the site of a casino or housing.