FAA Administrator Visits Williston - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

FAA Administrator Visits Williston

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The airport was built in 2005 to handle about 8,000 passengers a year.

Sloulin Field International Airport in Williston now handles more than that number in a single month - about 25,000 passengers have boarded in Williston this year to date.

Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta toured the facility today.

Officials at the Williston airport are looking at expansion or relocation options in the near future.

The airport currently hosts eight commercial flights a day with the possibility of adding two more.

Williston and Dickinson are the only two airports in the country with airline agreements for over-weight planes.

Assistant Airport Manager Anthony Dudas says the heavy planes do not cause safety concerns but they do cut down on the life span of the runway pavement.

(Michael Huerta, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator) "Transportation infrastructure is enabling, it's an engine for economic growth. and it's something we have to take very seriously because at the end of the day we all want a strong economy. And what we're seeing here is huge economic growth. We need to make sure we're laying a foundation for the future. So there's a lot going on here."

The FAA also announced North Dakota as the first of six certified unmanned aircraft test sites in the United States.

This morning, the North Dakota congressional delegation toured Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, headquartered in Grand Forks.

Senator John Hoeven says the effort started more than a decade ago, first getting the UAS mission to Grand Forks Air Force Base, then passing the appropriate legislation.

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