FAA Offers Grants to Build Sustainable, Safe Airports
Sep 26, 2022
The Federal Aviation Agency granted more than $302 million through its newest round of 2022 Airport Improvement Program grants to help build more sustainable, more accessible, and safer airports throughout 23 states.
Airport Improvement Program Grants for More Sustainable Airports
The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) was established in 1982 to provide grants to public agencies to better the planning and development of public-use airports. Since then, the program has been amended many times, but the program routinely grants billions of dollars in funding each year to airports and their public agencies.
The AIP receives about $3.2 billion in federal funding each year to help airports improve the following qualities:
- Environmental concerns, or sustainability
Projects often pertain to infrastructure projects such as runways, taxiways, airport signage, airport lighting, and airport markings.
What Airports Received FAA Grants in September?
About 40 airports in 23 states received funding from the FAA’s most recent round of AIP funding, which was released September 22, 2022. This was the third round of funding in 2022.
Recipients range in size from smaller, regional airports such as the Henderson City-County Airport in Kentucky to much larger, international airports like San Francisco International in California.
Grants for Improving Airport Sustainability
Many of the grants that the AIP funds help support increasing sustainability and environmental efforts at airports across the country. In the past, projects have included purchasing electric buses, installing dual-port chargers for ground transportation vehicles, and replacing boilers with geothermal systems.
Here are a few examples of the sustainable projects that this round of AIP funding will support:
Sustainability Improvement #1
Noise Mitigation Efforts
Noise mitigation efforts help to control the amount of noise pollution that airports produce, which can affect nearby communities and wildlife.
Los Angeles International Airport in California received $2.8 million in funding for noise mitigation measures for residences within 65-69 DNL. San Diego International Airport received $11.2 million and San Francisco International Airport received $9.6 million for the same project.
The Illinois State Block Program in Springfield received $370,000 in funding to conduct a noise compatibility study, which will identify measures the airport has taken and can take to address its noise production.
Sustainability Improvement #2
Updating Master Airport Plans
Many airports received funding to update their airport plans, which can help lead the way for more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in the future. Among these airports was St. Elmo Airport in Alabama, which received $135,999 in funding, and the State of Illinois, which received $285,708 in funding.
Sustainability Improvement #3
Snow Removal Equipment
Two airports received funding for snow removal equipment. Tweed New Haven Airport in Connecticut received $1 million in funding for snow removal equipment, and Boeing Field-King County International Airport in Seattle received $2.35 million.
Grants for Improving Airport Safety and Capacity
The AIP grants are also aimed to improve the safety and increase the capacity of airports. To make sure flights are safe and operations can run smoothly, the infrastructure of an airport must be readily maintained and improved when necessary. As a result, many of the AIP projects funded include rehabilitating, building, or increasing infrastructure.
Safety Improvement #1
Reconstructing, Extending, or Rehabilitating Taxiways and Runways
Taxiways and runways are vital to the function of an airport and its aircraft. The majority of the September 2022 FAA grants pertained to the runway and taxiway. For example:
- Punta Gorda Airport in Florida received $9.44 million to rehabilitate its taxiway.
- Greeley-Weld County Airport in Colorado received $6.1 million to rehabilitate its runway.
- South Bend International Airport in Indiana received $8.12 million to reconstruct its taxiway.
- Three Forks Airport in Montana received $5.63 million in funding to extend its taxiway.
Safety Improvement #2
Add or Rehabilitate Runway Lighting
Runway lighting makes it possible for pilots to take off, fly, and land at night. Here are a few of the airports that received this type of funding:
- Sidney-Richland Regional in Montana received $4.41 million to rehabilitate its runway lighting.
- Aztec Municipal Airport in New Mexico received $600,000 to add runway lighting.
- Pangborn Memorial Airport in Washington received $10.09 million to reconstruct taxiway lighting.
Safety Improvement #3
Add, Maintain, or Change Safety Areas
The safety area is the surface around the runway that is suitable for reducing the risk of damage if a plane were to have an undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway. These areas are extremely important for airports and must be maintained as such.
St. Mary’s Airport in Arkansas received $52.44 million, the largest grant of this round of funding, to apply to their safety area construction.
Who Is Eligible for AIP Grants?
To be eligible, airports must fall within the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. The NPIAS lists public-use airports that are considered vital to public transportation, civil aviation, national defense, and/or the Postal service.
Additionally, the airport must fall into one of the following categories:
- Publicly owned
- Designated by FAA as a reliever
- Having scheduled service and at least 2,500 annual enplanements
When Is the Next Round of FAA Grants?
Although not entirely clear, the FAA is still administering grants from the FY 2021 release of funds and has stated that all of the funds will be administered before September 2023. So there is still time for airports to apply for or receive funds.
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