Why does an airport like Duluth do a master plan?

Successfully moving forward is hard without a plan, which is why we’re in the process of creating the Duluth International Airport’s Vision 2040 Master Plan. This plan will help us identify and meet the existing and long-term needs of our users including airlines, passengers, military, cargo carriers, private aircraft, tenants, the local communities we serve and the many visitors to our region.

An airport master plan is a long-term framework for the future operation and development of an airport. Master plans help airports like ours forecast what types of activity levels are likely in the next 20 years.  Through this process, we can answer many questions about future activity levels, including:

How might our airline service change in the future?

How many passengers will pass through our airport in a day?

How many aircraft will visit our airport in a day? 

How many aircraft will ‘live’ full-time at our airport?

Once we identify future activity levels, we can better plan for future needs. A few of the questions that can be answered regarding future needs include:

  • How do we maintain our existing infrastructure moving forward?
  • When will we need to repair and upgrade existing infrastructure?
  • How and when – if at all – should our runways and taxiways change to meet user needs?
  • Do we need to improve access for aircraft in inclement weather conditions?
  • Does the airport need more aircraft hangars to store aircraft? If so, where should those hangers go?
  • As our tenants grow and new tenants relocate to DLH, where can new development occur on our airport? What types of uses should be developed and where?

In order to meet the needs identified in the master plan, we need a funding and implementation plan in place. This will not only helps the airport, but also creates a financial framework for the airport to estimate the capital costs of future projects and identify potential funding sources. In addition, the best timing or sequencing of projects can also be explored.

Build our future. Together.

Get involved! Community involvement is key to the success of our Vision 2040 Master Plan. We welcome and look forward to the public’s involvement in this process! Check out our Community Involvement tab for more information on how to get involved.