The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission announced that the Bismarck Municipal Airport and the Bowman Regional Airport were awarded the 2016 Commercial Service Airport of the Year and the General Aviation Airport of the Year respectively, on March 7th during the 2017 Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium in Minot.
The award, sponsored by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission in partnership with the Airport Association of North Dakota, is for excellence in maintaining safety, project management, and community awareness.
Presenting the awards was Kyle Wanner, Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. Accepting the award for the Bismarck Municipal Airport included Gregory Haug – Airport Director and Timothy Thorsen – Assistant Airport Director. Accepting the award for the Bowman Regional Airport included Rodney Schaaf, Bowman Airport Chairman and Brent Kline, Bowman Airport Manager.
In 2016, the Bismarck airport continued its strong airline presence with 271,022 boarded passengers, a 4.35% increase from 2015, and seventh consecutive annual passenger boarding record for the airport. Through the hard work of the airport’s staff and in collaboration with local civic organizations: such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the airport continues to successfully market Bismarck to air carriers with flights to seven destinations.
Throughout 2016, the Bismarck airport participated in local community outreach events including presenting to over 650 area students at the Bismarck Aviation Career Day, offering job shadow opportunities to high school students and co-sponsoring the annual “A Day at the Zoo” event.
In June 2016, the Bismarck airport partnered with a private developer to construct and manage a new car rental quick turn-around facility at the airport, the first partnership of its kind in the country. This facility consolidates rental car return services in a single location reducing carbon emissions and traffic around the airport.
Currently, the Bismarck airport is preparing for a major runway reconstruction project that will start in the spring of 2017. Throughout the past year, the airport’s staff worked alongside local, state, and federal officials in finalizing the planning aspects of this major project which ultimately led to the award of $13.5 Million from the Federal Aviation Administration for the first of the three phases of this project.
In 2016, the Bowman Regional Airport completed its first full year of operations since relocation. The airport ended the year with 19 based aircraft and approximately 5,200 aircraft operations. Users of the airport included: Mediflight, North Dakota Game & Fish Department, Weather Modification Inc., Civil Air Patrol, agricultural sprayers and numerous other businesses and general aviation pilots.
Bowman Regional Airport board members were active throughout the local area in 2016. The airport’s board members actively promoted aviation careers at the Bowman County High School, hosted a number of airport breakfasts and a summer fly-in at the airport. In addition, the airport’s terminal building was utilized for flight training, which resulted in four new pilots being certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
In addition, the airport hosted a number of emergency preparedness exercises and continues to host a weather modification project at the airport. These emergency preparedness exercises included the Quad State Search and Rescue exercise and a statewide Civil Air Patrol Search and Rescue exercise. In November, Bowman County voters favored to keep the cloud modification project running in Western North Dakota.