Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Congressional Transportation Status Report

District 1


MnDOT District 1 Aeronautics

A map of MnDOT District 1 airports.

A map of MnDOT District 1 airports. Click or tap to enlarge image.

MnDOT’s Office of Aeronautics promotes aviation, aviation safety, and aviation education within the state.

It supports cities and towns of every size in the planning, operation, maintenance, and development of the state’s 135 public airport facilities. These airports provide a gateway to the world and bring both jobs and economic opportunities to the community.

In District 1, three large airports provide airline service from the Duluth International Airport (DLH), International Falls Airport (INL) and Range Regional Airport at Hibbing (HIB). 19 smaller airports and landing strips in the district provide a lifeline connecting communities and their businesses to the Twin Cities, the U.S. and the world. In the spring of 2018, MnDOT closed the Silber Bay airport due to unsafe runway pavement conditions.

District 1 Airports

Publicly Funded
Bold = Airline Served

  • Big Falls
  • Bigfork
  • Cloquet
  • Cook
  • Duluth International
  • Duluth Sky Harbor
  • Ely
  • Eveleth – Virginia
  • Grand Marais
  • Grand Rapids
  • Range Regional (Hibbing)
  • Hill City
  • International Falls
  • Littlefork
  • McGregor
  • Moose Lake
  • Orr
  • Silver Bay (closed in 2018)
  • Tower
  • Two Harbors

Statewide initiatives

The State Aviation System Plan (SASP) is a comprehensive plan that guides the development of Minnesota's system of airports and directs funding in a cost-effective manner. Efforts to update the plan began in 2017.
State-funded Programs for airport planning and improvements include the following:

Federally-funded programs (Federal Aviation Administration)

Airport Improvement Program (AIP) – Aviation Trust Fund monies provide grant-in-aid funding for planning, land acquisition, and capital improvement projects at Airports included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS). State Airport Funds may be used to support local shares of AIP funded projects.

Essential Air Service (EAS) – Aviation Trust Fund monies support scheduled airline flights to small communities that otherwise may not have access to the air transportation system. Airline service in MnDOT District 1 is supported under the current program at International Falls Airport and Range Regional Airport at Hibbing

MnDOT’s regulatory role

  • Airport Licenses Airport licenses are issued to airports, heliports and seaplane bases. Each type of airport license has different requirements.
  • Commercial Operator License This license is required for any business providing aviation services, such as: aerial photography, flight school, aircraft rental, aerial spraying, and aircraft maintenance.
  • Airport Inspections  MnDOT has been delegated authority by the FAA to collect and forward information on Minnesota airports, including verification of certain minimum safety requirements.
  • Land Use Zoning MnDOT provides technical assistance on land use safety zones and other Airport Zoning Standards, including standards to prevent incompatible or hazardous land uses to the operational safety of aircraft using the airport, and protect the safety and property of people on the ground in the area near the airport.
  • Aviation Tax Collection MnDOT collects aviation taxes to support the State Airports Fund. Sources include: aircraft registration, aviation fuel taxes, airline flight property tax, aircraft sales tax, and other fees (inspection, licensing, etc.).
  • Aircraft registration, including unmanned aircraft systems or drones must be registered with MnDOT and pay an annual registration fee as required by the FAA.


MnDOT – Aeronautics and Aviation

Cassandra Isackson
Office of Aeronautics
222 East Plato Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55107-1618

Kathy Vesely
Assistant Director
Office of Aeronautics
222 East Plato Boulevard
St. Paul, MN 55107-1618