by Cassandra Isackson
Director, Minnesota DOT Office of Aeronautics
Published in Midwest Flyer – February/March 2018
We are happy to share the fact that 2018 marks the beginning of our 75th year of partnerships with Minnesota’s great publicly owned airports! We have 135 quality, public-use airports that serve the Minnesota aviation community and their local communities in a very positive way.
Through this partnership with the airports, we work together to help assure we have a group of safe and well-maintained airports. This happens by meeting with airport boards, commissions, managers, and the airport city leaders in “Airport Needs” meetings. It is one way we find out directly about an airport’s needs, preferences, and plans for the near and distant future.
We also garner input from them for use in building and improving the State Aviation System Plan (SASP). The SASP provides us with a vision for the future of Minnesota’s airports. It outlines what Minnesotans desire from the state’s transportation system and identifies key guiding principles that MnDOT Aeronautics strives to achieve. One of the primary objectives of the SASP is to provide the State of Minnesota with planning tools that will assist in making well informed decisions.
While safety at our airports is always a primary goal, our partnerships also work together to reach out to the aviation community and the communities in general. We do this by sharing exhibit space at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and other area aviation venues. We further these efforts by urging our airports to participate as active members with Minnesota aviation organizations like the Minnesota Council of Airports (MCOA). There, for instance, airport managers can provide “grassroots” information about what is happening in their cities and at their airports that may have an impact on aviation or how that airport operates.
This is just a very brief sample of the ways we have worked – and continue to work – as partners with our airports. We look forward to the continuation and growth of these partnerships, for the benefit not only for aviation in Minnesota, but also for the benefits aviation brings to the communities and surrounding areas around our public airports. It is a win-win relationship, and we expect 2018 to be another great year for aviation.