Grand Forks Airport officials sign purchase agreements with nearby landowners
The Grand Forks Airport Authority has entered into agreements to purchase private land west of Grand Forks International Airport.
The land is required to complete an airport crosswind runway expansion project, which, when completed, will allow use by commercial jets. At present, the crosswind runway can only be used by UND aviation students and general aviation flights. Commercial flights land and take off from the airport’s main runway, but if that runway were to be closed for repairs, the region would temporarily lose these flights.
Ryan Riesinger, Executive Director of Grand Forks International Airport, briefed board members on the purchase agreements at the regular board meeting on June 24. Rick Meland, Chairman of the Airport Authority Board of Commissioners, thanked those involved in the project and said it was “extraordinary” the job could be done so quickly.
“I appreciate everyone who worked to make this land, it’s amazing that it can be set up and done so quickly,” said Meland.
The purchase agreements cover three plots of land west of the airport and are expected to be finalized by August 15. In April, the airport received a 32 acre parcel of land from the city, for the expansion project.
In other news from the airport board, the commissioners:
Authorization to spend $ 827,000 for design work for the runway expansion project. Costs associated with the design work can be covered by federal funding, and the design is expected to be completed by February.
Once construction begins, Riesinger said airlines will have to temporarily suspend service, when work is done at the intersection of the airport’s two main runways. Airlines must be notified at least a year in advance so that flight schedules can be reworked. Riesinger said he hoped to minimize the time GFK spends without commercial service to “potentially a few weekends.” Construction of the track could start at some point in 2022.
Heard an update on the increase in passenger numbers. More than 1,100 people took flights at GFK from April to May. The number of passengers is higher than expected, probably due to the removal of the 75% capacity limit of its planes by Delta Airlines on May 1. Prior to that, Riesinger said charge levels never exceeded 55%. Until May, the airport made a profit of about $ 35,000, when officials forecast a six-figure deficit. Operating expenses are covered by a federal subsidy.
Received nearly $ 2 million under the Federal Airport Rescue Grant program. The money is to be used for operating expenses and must be spent by the end of September 2024. The airport also received a second grant of around $ 100,000 for concessionaire relief.