FAA picks sites for military airport

 - July 25, 2007, 4:36 AM

Last month the FAA selected five airports to participate in the Military Airport Program (MAP). The purpose of the program is intended to provide funding to upgrade military airports for civil or joint use as a means of boosting capacity. The airports named last month are Griffiss Airpark, Rome, N.Y.; Millington Municipal Airport, Millington, Tenn.; Sawyer Airport, Gwinn, Mich.; Okaloosa County Airport, Valparaiso, Fla.; and Alexandria International Airport, La.

In a prepared statement, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said, “This program adds capacity in key locations and is an inexpensive way to reduce flight delays.” Using federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds, the MAP provides financial assistance for up to five years to civilian airport authorities that take on responsibility for current or former military airfields. Funding and projects at the five airports will be as follows:

• Griffiss Airpark, a general aviation airport and the former Griffiss Air Force Base, will receive funds for four years to bring runway lighting into compliance with FAA standards, construct security fencing around the airport and build a terminal building.

• Millington Municipal, as a reliever airport for Memphis International, will receive funds for two years to construct T-hangars and for other hangar renovation.

• Sawyer Airport will use its three-year funding for extensive hangar renovation. The former Air Force Base is the airline airport for the city of Marquette, Mich.

• Okaloosa County Airport/Eglin Air Force Base, a joint-use facility, will receive four years of MAP assistance to expand its terminal building, perform utility work on the electrical and water systems, and to construct a cargo terminal and a fuel farm. This is the airline service airport for Valparaiso, Fla.

• Alexandria International Airport will use its two-year funding to build a large hangar to accommodate the repair of jet aircraft. The former England Air Force Base, Alexandria is the airline service airport in the city.

This fiscal year the FAA will provide airport sponsors $35 million in MAP funds. Since 1990 the FAA has assisted airport sponsors with funding for a variety projects, such as building or rehabilitating surface parking lots, fuel farms, hangars, utility systems, access roads and cargo facilities. Many of these projects are not normally eligible for AIP funding, but projects for MAP-designated airports have unique eligibility rules to convert the airports to civilian use.

Airports already participating in the program include Guam International Airport; Mid-America Airport, Belleville, Ill.; Plattsburgh International Airport, N.Y.; Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Fla.; Tipton Airport, Odenton, Md.; Mather Airport, Sacramento, Calif.; March Inland Port, Riverside, Calif.; Gray Army Airfield, Killeen, Texas; Kalaeloa Airport, Oahu, Hawaii; and Southern California Logistics Airport, Victorville, Calif.