by Cassandra Isackson
Director, Minnesota DOT Office of Aeronautics
Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2018 issue
The value of an airport is appreciated by and impacted by its users, whether transient or based at the airport. Proper use and good planning can attract new users, new tenants, and inspire airport growth. In fact, your airport is, or can be, a significant economic engine for your entire community.
One way that you can help your airport to stay viable and continue to attract new users and new tenants is by understanding what “grant assurances” mean to your airport, how you can help your airport, and its plans for the future.
Aviators should understand that Airport Improvement Plan (AIP) funds can only be used to pay for specific projects that directly contribute to the actual capital improvement of an airport. In Minnesota, the Office of Aeronautics contributes funds toward the maintenance and operation of airports and also participates in capital projects.
Both state and federal funds come “with strings attached.” An airport must accept the terms and conditions with the grant, and assurances that the grant obligations will be met. The goals of the conditions are simple: 1) To keep the airport open, 2) It must be well maintained, and 3) It must provide a safe environment for a variety of aviation.
As a pilot, tenant, user, or supporter of your local airport, you can be helpful in assisting your airport to meet these assurances. You can work with your airport manager, city leaders, and supporting organizations to volunteer to help maintain your airport. Then you can help make sure it is as safe, efficient, clean, and user-friendly as possible. Don’t hesitate to let the airport manager know if you see or experience a situation that can have a negative impact on safety. Then, ask what you can do to help them correct the noted issue.
Please take time to review the basics of grant assurances and develop an understanding of the processes involved in funding your airport. Links to resource information are provided below for your convenience. You’ll be better able to assist the city and/or your airport manager, in working to keep your airport open, viable and growing. And remember, from agricultural sprayers to business jets, aviation users fuel the economy!
Grant Assurance Resources: