Large U.S. airports received 10% of the 2,059 airport infrastructure grants that the Federal Aviation Administration awarded in 2006, but they accounted for 33% of the grant program’s $3.41 billion in obligated funds, the agency says. The numbers were about the same in 2005 when large and medium hubs got 10% of the airport grants, but 35% of the $3.42 billion obligated.

Large airports received 33% of airport grant dollars that
FAA obligated in 2006.

FAA’s most recent annual report on the Airport Improvement Program, posted Aug. 29 on its Website, also shows that the top five states for AIP dollars last year were California, with $307 million; Texas, $254 million; Alaska, $221 million; Illinois, $157 million; and Florida, $152 million.

In addition, the agency’s study says that 67% of AIP’s 2006 funds went for airside construction projects, such as runways, taxiways and aprons. In 2005, airside work received 65% of AIP’s funds.

The report also covers passenger facility charges (PFCs), which can be used to fund a broader range of infrastructure projects than AIP aid can. PFC collections totaled $2.4 billion in 2006, up $216 million from 2005, FAA says. Last year, 32% of PFC funds approved went for airside work, 40% for landside projects, mainly terminals, and 27% to pay interest on airport authorities’ bonds.

FAA notes that four new runways using AIP grants were commissioned in 2006 at Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Lambert St. Louis and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airports. FAA also obligated $108 million in 2006 AIP aid to repair Gulf Coast airports damaged by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Congress is debating a bill to reauthorize AIP and other FAA programs.