Grand Forks International Airport
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|Grand Forks International Airport|
Aerial view of airport shortly after takeoff from runway 35L
|Operator||Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority|
|Location||Grand Forks, North Dakota|
|Elevation AMSL||845 ft / 258 m|
Grand Forks International Airport (IATA: GFK, ICAO: KGFK, FAA LID: GFK) is a public airport five miles (8 km) northwest of Grand Forks, in Grand Forks County, North Dakota. GFK has no scheduled passenger flights out of the country but has an "international" title (like many other airports) because it has customs service for arrivals from Canada and other countries.
The airport, sometimes called Mark Andrews International Airport after Mark Andrews, a former U.S. House Representative and U.S. Senator from North Dakota, is owned by the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority and located on U.S. Highway 2, around four miles (6 km) west of Interstate 29, within city limits in a detached section of the city that is surrounded by Rye Township.
In 2009 the airport's FAA control tower was the 23rd-busiest in the nation, with 346,165 tower operations. About 90% of all operations at GFK are flights operated by the University of North Dakota's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences which is based on the field.
GFK is a non-hub, primary commercial service airport. The Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority is a public, non-profit organization established as a joint partnership between Grand Forks County and the City of Grand Forks. This is the governance of the Airport. The Airport Authority consists of a seven-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Grand Forks Mayor, Michael R. Brown, and the Grand Forks County Commission. Karl Bollingberg is the Chairman of the Board followed by Tim Mutchler, Vice Chairman. Other members of the board include, Clark Cronquist, Brad Beyer, Gary Malm, Steve Kuhlman, and Dana Sande. The Airport Authority staff consists of Ryan Riesinger, Executive Director, Mary Jo Crystal, Director of Finance/Administration, Paula Thompson, Assistant Finance/Administration Manager, Coleen Peterson, Executive Assistant, and Rick Audette, Operations and Maintenance Manager (Grand Forks International Airport, 2016).
The now closed original passenger terminal at GFK was built in 1964. Outside terminal security were the Delta and Allegiant Airlines ticketing counters, a restaurant, a gift shop and a waiting area. After passing through security screening there is a small waiting area that served the terminal's two passenger gates.
In the mid-2000s, discussion began of upgrading or totally replacing the terminal as it has structural and safety problems and leaves little to no room for expansion. Findings from a study commissioned by the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority were released in early 2005. The study, which was done by Ulteig Engineers, gave the Airport Authority options for the future of the passenger terminal.
One option was to keep the terminal as is. The consulting group did not recommend this as the terminal has too many structural and safety problems. The list of problems include: mold growth, roof leakage, differential settlement, blocking runway line of sight, passenger boarding, potential equipment damage from basement flooding, outdated electrical and mechanical systems, no sprinkler system, code deficiencies, insufficient parking setback, and interior traffic circulation issues. The terminal could be rehabilitated for $18.3 million, however, that would leave many issues unresolved and leave no room for expansion.
The consulting group recommended that a brand new passenger terminal would the best solution to the current terminal's problems. Five locations for a new terminal were evaluated favoring a site between the cargo apron and general aviation apron. Ground was broken on the new terminal in July 2009, with completion expected in 2011. The building will be named the Byron L Dorgan Terminal in honor of retiring North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan. It was opened and dedicated on August 30, 2011.
The new passenger terminal, designed by JLG Architects, is a two-story building, with Delta and Allegiant ticketing counters, baggage claim carousel, and several rental car agencies. The first floor has a state-of-the-art inline checked baggage screening system. The Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority has several offices on the second floor, along with the TSA security checkpoint with cutting-edge passenger screening technology. Beyond security is a waiting area for both of the airport's gates. Red River Valley Grill also serves both the public and secured side of the airport for concessions and beverages. There is also a small gift shop in the grill.
GFK's largest tenant is not an airline, but the University of North Dakota's John D. Odegard Aerospace Program. The university utilizes 11 heated hangars to house approximately 120 aircraft. A flight operations building that is the headquarters for dispatching aircraft, pre-briefing students for flights, and an on-site cafeteria on the top level of the five-story building. GFK also houses UND’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) training facility. The facility is used for ground briefings, flight simulators, and systems training for students who are pursuing a major focusing on unmanned aircraft. The most recent addition at GFK was a new hangar for UND’s helicopter flight training operations completed December 2011.
Most operations (takeoff and landing) at GFK is from the University of North Dakota. The UND Aerospace Foundation occupies the northeastern (Bravo), and eastern (Charlie) ramps on the airport. UND operates a fleet over 120 aircraft including Cessna 172s, Cessna 150s, Piper Seminoles, Piper Arrows, two Beechcraft King Air 90s and a pair of American Champion Decathlons for flight training. UND also owns a Cessna Citation, however, used for atmospheric research and not used for flight training. Several buildings complement such a fleet of aircraft, including a dispatch center, a full-time maintenance center, and dedicated line support personal and much more.
- Runway 9L/27R: 4,206 ft × 100 ft (1,282 m × 30 m) concrete
- Runway 17L/35R: 3,901 ft × 75 ft (1,189 m × 23 m) concrete
- Runway 17R/35L: 7,351 ft × 150 ft (2,241 m × 46 m) asphalt
- Runway 9R/27L: 3,300 ft × 60 ft (1,006 m × 18 m) concrete
Due to the increased amount of general aviation traffic, primarily from the UND Aerospace flight training school, a fourth runway has been completed on the southeast side of the airport. It is a parallel east–west runway named 9R/27L. The previous runway 8/26 was renamed in October 2008 to 9L/27R in preparation for the new runway.
In 2015 the airport had 298,525 aircraft operations, average 817 per day: 68% general aviation, 32% air taxi, 1% commercial, and <1% military. In April 2017, there were 92 aircraft based at this field: 67 single-engine, 14 multi-engine, 4 jet, and 7 helicopter.
GFK Flight Support, the fixed-base operator at the airport, completed construction of a new $4.5 million facility in autumn 2008. This 45,000 sq ft (4,200 m2) facility increased GFK Flight Support's heated hangar and aircraft support space to 130,000 sq ft (12,000 m2) making it the largest aircraft service center in North Dakota. The previous facilities are now used by wing of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, housing a number of government aircraft and helicopters. Valley Med Fight, an air ambulance company, also occupies near by hangars, which are managed by GFK Flight Support. The FBO also handles all ground operations for Allegiant Air.
In 2015, GFK Flight Support was purchased by the Saginaw, Michigan-based Avflight Corporation  and re-branded as Avflight.
Airlines and destinations
|Allegiant Air||Las Vegas, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa|
|Delta Connection||Minneapolis–Saint Paul|
|Encore Air Cargo||Sioux Falls|
FedEx was the second-largest employer at KGFK. The FedEx ramp at KGFK served the entire state of North Dakota, northwestern Minnesota, and small portions of South Dakota and Montana. FedEx had over 100 employees—customer service representatives, ramp agents, couriers, semi-drivers and jet aircraft and vehicle maintenance workers. Ramp agents worked evening or early morning shifts, loading and unloading the aircraft, feeder planes and trucks. FedEx contracted with Corporate Air to provide pilots and maintenance for eleven feeder aircraft. Corporate Air was KGFK’s tenth-largest employer
On February 17, 2016, FedEx announced that it would be moving its operations from the Grand Forks Airport to Fargo's Hector International airport in order to "operate even more efficiently". FedEx moved all flight operations to Fargo on October 31, 2016.
|1||Minneapolis-St Paul, MN||80,580||Delta|
|2||Las Vegas, NV||19,320||Allegiant|
On November 9, 2010, GFK had 100,570 boardings, one more than the record achieved in 12 months in 1994. The airport director, Patrick Dame, confidently predicted that GFK would reach 117,000 boardings by the end of 2010. As of April 2014, passenger boardings at GFK had reached 147,000, a 7% increase year-over-year (April 2012 – April 2013).
During the same period, Delta led passenger traffic with 181,550 passengers (arriving and departing) and maintained a 59.64% market share. Allegiant trailed at 117,000 total passengers and a 39.98% market share. Scheduled departures have risen to 5,572, compared to 4,355 in 2010.
On October 3, 2012, United Airlines (operated by United Express) started flying between Denver and Grand Forks. However, on September 10, 2013, United announced they would terminate service on December 3, 2013, citing low load factors as their reason for termination.
- FAA Airport Master Record for GFK ( PDF), effective Apr 27, 2017
- Grand Forks International Airport, official web site
- FAA ATADS Report [date missing]
- "List of NPIAS Airports" (PDF). FAA.gov. Federal Aviation Administration. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
- "Staff - Grand Forks International Airport". gfkairport.com. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
- (University of North Dakota School of Aerospace Sciences, 2012)
- "GFK Flight Support To Build State-Of-The-Art Corporate Jet Center". press release. Grand Forks International Airport. 2007-08-27. Archived from the original on 2007-10-31.
- "Avflight About Us". avflight.com. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
- (Grand Forks International Airport, 2012)
- "RITA BTS Transtats - GFK". www.transtats.bts.gov. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grand Forks International Airport.|
- GFK Flight Support, the fixed-base operator (FBO)
- (PDF), effective September 14, 2017
- Resources for this airport: