7 more airports in Alaska see increased funds from the FAA this year

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 8:58 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Federal Aviation Administration is awarding $42 million dollars to seven airports in Alaska for its final phase of grants for the year, and 2021 was already considered an above average year for distributions.

Kristi Warden, acting regional administrator for the FAA Alaskan region, said there was $337 million dollars handed out in funds from sources such as the Airport Improvement Program and CARES Act.

“It’s because of those programs that we are able to not only increase the amount of funding to airports here in Alaska, but also very importantly because of the ARBA Act we are able to eliminate the requirement for local match for a number of airport operators in the state,” says Warden.

During the 2021 fiscal year, the FAA has awarded more than 64 grants totaling $257.4 million to Alaska airports, according to a Tuesday press release.

The FAA says approximately 82% of communities in Alaska are only accessible by air and running those airports is primarily the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The department oversees 235 rural airports, as well as the Fairbanks International Airport and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, and the grants they have been receiving this year will go toward safety, access and sustainability efforts. One of the people helping with the vision is Janelle Brinkman, who is the Central Region Aviation Design Group chief for the department.

“This funding and these airports are very important to these communities,” Brinkman said. “This is their only means of transportation for medical emergencies, for bringing in goods and services to their communities, and for work travel they need to do and any travel in general.”

And one of the airports receiving money from this last round of funding is the Kenai Municipal Airport. Eland Conway, the airport manager there, says more than half a million dollars will help with infrastructure issues after a sinkhole resurfaced at the airport in 2020.

“This money will be used to remove and replace and improve the storm water drainage inside the runway safety area,” Conway said.

He went on to say the project will start next week using local contractors to help put that money back into the community.

The other airports receiving funding in this latest round of grants are the Bethel Airport, the Chefornak Airport, the Kipnuk Airport, the Warren “Bud” Woods Palmer Municipal Airport, Atqasuk Edward Burnell Sr. Memorial Airport and the Metlakatla Airport.

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