Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


City/County meet with FAA on airport

By Randy Thoms Feb 7, 2024 | 11:53 AM

Elected officials in the International Falls area are being told any change in their obligations to the Falls International Airport could take several years to complete.

Members of International City Council and Koochiching County Board of Commissioners gathered recently for a joint meeting to hear from representatives of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The city and county have been discussing how the airport is funded.

The city feels its residents are hit twice through city and county taxes.

It has paid its share of funding for this year but has hinted at wanting a change.

Councillor Pete Kalar insists they do not to dissolve the airport.

“I just want to change a little bit of the tone that International Falls does not want to get rid of the airport. We’re looking for some fairness in how we pay for it, and I’m glad to see we’re going to set up a committee to look into it,” says Kalar.

The elected officials were informed that it is rare in Minnesota to see a change in airport sponsorship.

Lindsay Terry, a regional manager for the FAA, says it has only happened once in the 23 years she has been with the agency.

She adds it is also a process that can be costly and take several years to complete.

“The last sponsor transfer that we accomplished in the state of Minnesota started and took over a full year to actually get to the final documents. But the conversation started three years before that. So it is not a simple process,” says Terry.

She adds there is a long list of things that need to be considered, including the impact on existing grants and contracts.

A 2019 economic impact study revealed the airport contributes more than $28 million annually in spending throughout International Falls and Koochiching County.

The airport has also rebounded since the pandemic, with more than 15,000 passengers passing through and more than 27,000 aircraft arriving and departing.

Almost 200 employees are employed directly or indirectly.