Hoeven Highlights UND's Role in Meeting Global Demand for Aviation Personnel, Outlines Need for Grand Forks Airport Expansion

Senator Working to Advance $55 Million for New Air Traffic Control Tower in FY2022

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today met with local leaders at the Grand Forks International Airport to discuss efforts to secure upgrades and expansions for the airport’s facilities, including its runway and air traffic control tower. The senator stressed how the airport serves not only the local community, but also the national aviation industry as it is the home for the University of North Dakota’s (UND) John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, which makes the Grand Forks airport among the busiest in the nation.

Accordingly, Hoeven has worked as a member of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Committee to:

  • Facilitate discussions between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local officials, which helped ensure federal approval of the airport’s expansion plan.
  • Secure more than $13 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 for airport expansion design, wetland mitigation and land acquisition.
  • Provide nearly $2 million in FY2019 for the design of a new air traffic control tower.
    • The senator also worked to include $55 million for the air traffic control tower’s construction in the Senate’s FY22 THUD funding legislation.

 “The demand for qualified pilots will continue to grow, with an estimated 612,000 newly trained aviation personnel needed globally over the next 20 years. It’s critical that the airports where we train the future of our aviation workforce have the facilities they need to meet this challenge and do so without delay,” said Hoeven. “UND is home to one of the premier aviation training programs in the world, and we need to ensure that existing airport capacity limitations do not restrict their ability to safely and efficiently train future pilots. That’s why we have been working with the FAA and Grand Forks officials to advance this airport expansion project and ensure it is promptly funded.”

Specifically, the project expansion includes:

  • Extending, widening and strengthening runway 9L/27R.
  • Reconstructing primary runway 17R/35L.
  • Constructing a 3rd north/south runway.
  • Construction of a new air traffic control tower.