Recently there has been a mantra “keep it local” regarding the airport. What is local? Must one reside within the city limits of Fergus Falls to manage the airport? Are Walmart, Jimmy Johns, Caribou Coffee, Home Depot, Fleet Farm, etc., local? These businesses are in Fergus Falls because they reach a bigger audience regionally. I wish we still had a Target. My family now travels to Alexandria or Fargo to go to Target.
Airports themselves are regional. Notice Elizabeth, Erhard, Underwood, Dalton, Foxhome, etc., do not have their own airport? The Fergus Falls Municipal Airport is 90%-plus funded by the federal government (FAA) and the state. A petition I’ve seen circulating online regarding the airport stating “local dollars, local cents” is naive. Federal and state funds generally are not local. Equally interesting, the petition was started by an individual that may benefit personally if the airport mangement / fixed base operation contract goes with their “local choice.”
In closing, airports are regional. Local dollars only fund a fraction of airport operations. As an aviation professional, I know the Fergus Falls airport needs regional support to be successful. Isolating the Fergus Falls airport in the region will be detrimental. Stating our airport is strictly for Fergus Falls shows naïveté and is an inner circle viewpoint. An unbiased approach would be the most beneficial. The city paid Landrum & Brown to provide an unbiased viewpoint through RFP. The Fergus Falls inner circle does not like the results.