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Highlights

The Airport and Airways Development Act provides for Federal funds and grants of federally owned land for airport development. The act contains requirements for good title to lands by sponsors. Airport projects and facilities in Alaska are often on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which conveys land to the State through patents or leases. Lands on which title will eventually be transferred to Alaska natives are leased, but difficulties arise because these leases are limited by law to a 20-year maximum period. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that at least 19 years and 6 months remain on the lease at the time the sponsor is granted funding. The stringent 20-year requirement has had the effect of blocking or delaying much of Alaska's airport development. Priority should be given to revising FAA regulations to allow variations in the requirement that airport leases granted by the Federal Government have a remaining life of not less than 20 years in order to receive development funds, with adequate review to assure protection of the Federal Government's interest.