Military Airports Get Civilian Makeover

 - September 27, 2007, 4:49 AM

Four former military airports that have been converted to civilian airports have been granted funds under the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The airports are Portsmouth (N.H.) International; Sawyer International in Marquette, Mich.; Plattsburgh (N.Y.) International; and Killeen-Fort Hood Regional in Killeen, Texas.

The Military Airport Program (MAP) uses AIP funding to boost civilian aviation capacity by upgrading former military airports. The four airports selected this year have participated in the program before and are participating again because they want to ensure their airports can operate as civilian or joint military-civilian use facilities.

A total of 15 airports can participate in the program at any one time, including one general aviation airport. Airports can receive financial assistance for up to five years.

Reinvestment Gives New Life to Old Military Bases
Since 1990, the FAA has provided airport sponsors approximately $500 million for a variety of airport projects such as building or rehabilitating surface parking lots, fuel farms, hangars, utility systems, access roads and cargo buildings. 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.

Plattsburgh will receive funds for four years to conduct hangar work and acquire snow removal equipment. The airport does not have a project scheduled for this year, but project funding will be part of next year’s disbursements.

Sawyer will receive $2.6 million over three years to renovate military aircraft hangars for civilian use and improve facilities.

Portsmouth (formerly Pease AFB) will receive $2.9 million for three years to make terminal security improvements, acquire snow removal equipment and design and build a de-icing/holding ramp pad.

Killeen-Fort Hood will receive $285,000 for one year to expand the existing fueling area to meet current and projected operational requirements at the airport.

According to the FAA, with the need to increase capacity in the civilian aviation system as quickly and economically as possible, it makes sense to take advantage of the availability of former military airports.

Airports already participating in the program include Waynesville (Mo.) Regional; Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla.; Kalaeloa Airport in Oahu, Hawaii; Griffiss Airpark in Rome, N.Y.; Stewart International in Newburgh, N.Y.; Rickenbacker Airport in Columbus, Ohio; Okaloosa County-Valparaiso/Eglin AFB, in Valparaiso, Fla.; Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz.; Guam International, in Agana, Guam; Sacramento Mather in Sacramento, Calif.; and San Bernardino International in San Bernardino, Calif.