The city of Kalispell, Mont., is considering refusing federal Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds in order to build an airport outside the town and close Kalispell City Airport. Accepting an AIP grant would require that the city keep the current airport open for another 20 years.
Local pilots and the Montana Pilots Association object to the city’s plan, arguing that the airport’s current location best meets the needs of the community. AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Scott Richardson is working with pilots and the community to explain the value of the current airport through letters to the editor and attending public hearings. AOPA also is adding its support for the airport and has contacted city officials to explain the benefits of the airport’s current location.
“Kalispell airport generates 395 jobs in the community, adds value to the local economy, and supports emergency medical operations,” explained Joey Colleran, AOPA director of advocacy. “It is a model example of a self-sustaining airport that benefits the community and has a terrific safety record.”
Montana pilots are encouraged to contact Kalispell city officials to discuss the benefits of the airport, focusing on its safety record (only one fatal accident in the last 15 years) and financial contribution to the city. Colleran will visit Kalispell to meet with city officials while in Montana for the Montana Aviation Conference in March.